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Bullish
November 24, 2011 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Can the Bulldog Be Saved? (SLNYT)
posted by box (65 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm just amazed that someone thought that putting the word "dog" in the name was an accurate description .
posted by tomswift at 11:43 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's an interesting question: does society have the right to intervene in the genetic destiny of a species? The bulldog is a slow motion train wreck that's been happening for over a century, and if the past is any guide their future probably isn't too bright. There are laws to protect individual animals from mistreatment, so we acknowledge that society has to intervene on the behalf of individual dogs - but do we have the right or necessity to intervene on behalf of all future bulldogs? Can we force breeders to go in a healthier direction purely on humanitarian grounds?
posted by Kevin Street at 11:52 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


does society have the right to intervene in the genetic destiny of a species?...but do we have the right or necessity to intervene on behalf of all future bulldogs?

The bulldog is the way it is because we bred it to be so. Dogs are not autonomous species anymore and haven't been for eons. To pretend like altering them is some kind of... intrusion really misses the point.

Making it a healthier breed isn't "intervening" in some mystical natural process, it's merely trying to undo the mistakes that were made w/r/t past breeding.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 11:58 AM on November 24, 2011 [34 favorites]


I was thinking of it as more of an intrusion on the rights of the breeders. They own the dogs and, within humane limits, can usually do what they like with them. Not saying there shouldn't be a law or anything, but it seems like an interesting new sort of area for legislation.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:02 PM on November 24, 2011


The bulldog is a slow motion train wreck that's been happening for over a century, and if the past is any guide their future probably isn't too bright.

Yeah, and we've been and will continue to be in the driver's seat for the entire time. There are no wild bulldogs. Or, for that matter, wild golden retrievers, wild pugs, wild Boston terriers or wild anything that falls into canis domesticus. It's right there in the name. We made them all.

Although the idea of a roving pack of feral pugs is pretty much the cutest thing ever.
posted by griphus at 12:11 PM on November 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Whether or not the type of breeding that's been done to bulldogs is "within humane limits" is sort of the main point of the article. I certainly don't think that the breed standards for bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks (to name but a few of the most egregious examples) is at all humane.
posted by arcticwoman at 12:11 PM on November 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Although the idea of a roving pack of feral pugs is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

That's what I thought. Until that fateful day on the outskirts of the kennell club....
posted by jonmc at 12:13 PM on November 24, 2011 [20 favorites]


Great, now I am picturing a nature documentary-style shot of a bunch of pugs biting into the hot, fresh entrails of a recently-killed gazelle. And then all of a sudden one of them just *pops* out of the body cavity, like a wrinkly little jack-in-the-box.
posted by griphus at 12:16 PM on November 24, 2011 [22 favorites]


Yes. Breed it with other dogs and let it be a dog, you fascists.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:17 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I refuse to believe that, by extension, labradoodles are a good evolution of doggie history.
posted by ninjew at 12:26 PM on November 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


We're owned by three rescued bulldogs. And I can't say I really disagree with the idea of at least getting the breeding for traits under control. Some of the bulldogs I see for sale online just don't look right. I see some that are beautifully stout and wide and low, and when I look at them I wonder how long it will be before the dog is suffering from arthritis. Or hip dysplasia. Or ending up with a blown out knee. I wonder how, in a breed that's known for heart problems, this dog's cardiovascular system can stay healthy and work well enough to keep the rest of the dog healthy.

But this is a problem that pales in comparison to the issue of breeding bulldogs in general. If you've ever thought about getting one, you're aware that they cost usually $2000 on up. With this being the case, many people who have an intact female, or an intact pair, don't even think twice about breeding them. All they see is dollar signs. They often don't pay attention to the traits of the dogs they have, which creates a whole new set of problems. If a dog has hip problems, aggression issues, or any of another host of issues, they should not be bred, period. If you want to see the results of this kind of breeding, look up rescue bulldogs on Petfinder and see how many of them have special needs. Bulldogs are susceptible to so many breed-specific problems and people who get them often aren't prepared for what it takes to care for one. I can go on and on about this, but suffice it to say that the problem of breeding for traits is not as problematic as backyard or puppy mill breeders who breed for money and nothing else. (I will also say that there are some ethical breeders out there who breed not for the lowest, widest bulldogs, but for health first and foremost.)

My three aren't perfect. Far from it. One has bad skin allergies (bulldogs are susceptible to this in a big way.) He's a handsome lovable goofball who is extremely athletic for the breed. Another is 20 pounds too small, has a very small airway and was abandoned by a breeder who tried to breed her unsuccessfully twice. She's the sweetest pooch you will ever meet and has been a blessing. The third is 11 years old, Aside from dry eye and arthritis, there isn't much wrong with her, but no one wanted to adopt one as old as her and so she adopted us. We try to educate people about the breed and encourage rescue, and we also warn people if they think a purchase price is expensive, wait 'til they see what they rack up in vet fees. Our experience has led us to believe that while breeders should be working towards healthier dogs and not towards breeding little tanks with feet, uncontrolled breeding is a bigger problem.

(Oh, and bulldog snoring is a wonderful cure for insomnia.)
posted by azpenguin at 12:27 PM on November 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


"There are no wild bulldogs."

Wait 'til you see a couple jumping after a piece of spaghetti.
posted by azpenguin at 12:28 PM on November 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there a distinct set of breeding practices for working dogs rather than show dogs? For example if I wanted a traditional German Shepherd example, could I get one with more practical body proportions and without the inbreeding defects that have resulted from generations of breeders reaching for a stupid and arbitrary aesthetic ideal. Are there unruined lines of Collie with heads that are not the shape of an exacto blade?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:29 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The elephant in the room here is that almost all dog breeds were bred for a purpose, a purpose which has been utterly lost. Look at the health of German Shepherds in Germany (where success in schutzhund is required for breed registration) versus the US -- there's no comparison between dogs bred for health and dogs bred only for appearance.
posted by vorfeed at 12:30 PM on November 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Is there a distinct set of breeding practices for working dogs rather than show dogs?

There definitely is. Looking at German Shepherds, a police dog is a very different animal from the miserable looking show dogs with hip problems. I'm not sure how you'd go about finding a breeder who will sell you a "working dog" as a pet, but they obviously exist, unless police forces around the world are running their own breeding programs.
posted by asnider at 12:33 PM on November 24, 2011


Perhaps we should be breeding dogs for abilities that are actually useful, like dialing 911, sensing when contractors are lying and moderating the comments on your blog.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:40 PM on November 24, 2011 [38 favorites]


The elephant in the room here is that almost all dog breeds were bred for a purpose, a purpose which has been utterly lost.

Not true; I still use my bulldogs for bear-baiting, the way God intended.
posted by Hoopo at 12:43 PM on November 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Is there a distinct set of breeding practices for working dogs rather than show dogs?

I don't know about GSDs in particular, but there are definitely breeders in the US who produce hunting dogs, rather than show dogs. They may or may not qualify under some particular standard as "purebred," but that's only because that particular breed or genetic line is thought to be useful for hunting, generally not because there's any real desire for genetic purity or lineage as an end in itself.

There was an article about American hunting-dog breeders recently in Garden and Gun magazine, if you are curious. (Most of the ones mentioned would be conservatively described as "upmarket," if not downright aristocratic, so naturally their dogs are also pedigreed.) In most cases they are really trainers, with the breeding as an input to their training programs -- an untrained puppy is a fraction of the cost of a trained ("finished") gun dog.

Although I personally could not justify purchasing a dog from a breeder given the number of dogs in shelters, if you were going to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a dog, getting one from a "working dog" breeder strikes me as a much better idea than getting one from a show-dog breeder who is really only concentrating on an arbitrary breed standard.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:54 PM on November 24, 2011


Most "breeds" of dog have been subjected to these ridiculous extremes, now that the /original/ reasons for some of the traits are no longer present. Now, these traits are simply followed to their illogical conclusion by breeders. If a pushed-in face or super-low rear-end is considered desirable, then more of that must be better, right?

Most of these breeds have reached a point where many award-winning examples are in constant pain.

The whole pure-breed pyramid ought to be scrapped. I have no idea how to enforce or suggest how this is done, but I'd like to think that people would have the good sense to realize that breeding for a tiny head so the eyes and brain are constricted to the point of tissue damage is a bad thing. I like to think this.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:54 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Changing breed standard is an extremely sensible solution. A bulldog with a reasonably short (as opposed to extremely short) face is still a bulldog. No one is saying you can't own or breed them. If breed standard encourages traits that lead to health problems, of course they are going to proliferate. Breeders want winning animals. They make more money. Their puppies sell for more. They can charge higher stud fees. Who cares if the dog dies at five? They're really at the end of their prime breeding/showing years anyway. Changing breed standard to favor less extreme traits can preserve the spirit of the breed without inflicting it with suffering. Look at the illustration at the top of the article. The second dog (with the purposed changes) still looks very much like a bulldog.

Breeders and dog clubs balk at the changes because they have the most to lose. All the "top" dogs that they have been breeding to meet the current standard are now less valuable. So of course they don't want that. It sickens me that people who swear they "love the breed" oppose changes that would be for the benefit of those same dogs. They claim that mixing in other breeds would just be breeding mutts. Even if you want to grant them that point (I don't necessarily, but let's leave that out for now.), there is still a huge range of traits even within the breed. You can still breed bulldog to bulldog, just select those with the widest nostrils, fewer facial folds and sturdier hips. Over time the breed will improve.

I did a quick search to read the opinions of bulldog breeders who oppose these measures. The first one I found was authored by a breeder that I personally know. I used to work for the hospital that treated her dogs. In her piece she is extremely defensive about purposed changes to this breed. She states the health problem claims are overblown and that people love bulldogs for what they are. Listen, this woman was the poorest excuse for a breeder (and human being) that I've ever met. We tried to speak with her when she was unsurprisingly having difficulty breeding a dog that had both a congenital heart problem and hip dysplasia. We suggested that maybe a dog with several inheritable medical problems was not the best candidate to pass those genes on. Her response? "Yeah, what can you do? I need her tail." Because those puppies will grow up to win prizes at two and die by six. And people who buy the puppies have no idea they're getting a ticking, suffering timebomb. They see AKC champion parents and think they're getting the best.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, people can not be trusted to be good stewards over that which they stand to profit from. I can understand why bully breeders specifically opposed the measures, but am baffled as to why the AKC as a collective wouldn't want to step in at this point to change the standard.
posted by troublewithwolves at 12:56 PM on November 24, 2011 [22 favorites]


My bulldog pup is awesome... however he is mostly American, not English, so I think he will likely avoid most of the typical english bulldog health problems. He is not purebred, he is a cross, so I'm sure that helps as well.

I do think that purepred english bulldogs are kind of sad. Any species that can't reproduce without human intervention should be allowed to follow it's natural course...


Obligatory
posted by utsutsu at 12:57 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have two purpose-bred dogs, purebreds with a non-AKC standard range of -- look at this part -- 45 to 110 pounds and at least 18 different registered colors. They are perhaps the healthiest large breed, generally lacking genetic health problems, in existence in the Western world with beautiful temperaments.

I cannot hate AKC show standards enough. True, we have developed breeds of dogs to work for us. We are no longer breeding for those traits or temperaments, nor do we often give the dogs the purpose they were long bred for. NB: I have a grudge against my condo-dwelling neighbor's Border Collie that rushes us Every. Single. Time. we head out for a walk.
posted by vers at 1:05 PM on November 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there a distinct set of breeding practices for working dogs rather than show dogs?

In the case of greyhounds, yes. Racing greyhounds are even registered by a different body - the National Greyhound Association, not the AKC. Most greyhounds that an average person encounters are NGA greyhounds, because so few show greyhounds are bred (something like 100 AKC puppies are registered per year in the entire country.) Because they are bred for function, not form, NGA greyhounds show a fairly wide variation in phenotype. Their size may range from 45 lbs to over 100lbs. They might be muscular and stocky or long and lean. They have a huge variety of color. And, they are rather healthy for a large breed - no hip displaysia, etc.

AKC greyhounds (to this retired racer advocate/adopter) look freaky and weird. Their chests are too narrow and too deep, and they have so little muscle.

It is my understanding that an NGA greyhound can get cross-registered by the AKC if one wanted to do so.

There are legitimate problems with the greyhound racing industry, but I am one of the few greyhound advocates I know that would prefer the industry be reformed and not eliminated. Greyhounds are working dogs and being bred for such has served the breed well. The breed will all but disappear once the last of the tracks are closed.
posted by misskaz at 1:05 PM on November 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Much more eloquent and fact-based than I was able to be, misskaz -- thank you.
posted by vers at 1:08 PM on November 24, 2011


I can understand why bully breeders specifically opposed the measures, but am baffled as to why the AKC as a collective wouldn't want to step in at this point to change the standard.

Because the AKC profits from the standard. The breeders who perpetuate health issues with their dogs are the ones who enter dog shows and pay AKC processing fees for certification.
posted by mightygodking at 1:12 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The elephant in the room here is that almost all dog breeds were bred for a purpose, a purpose which has been utterly lost.

and I still use my maltese (mix) for yapping. so there.
posted by ninjew at 1:14 PM on November 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is my biggest problem with the AKC, looks are all that matter. I remember watching a special on PBS where a woman bred Salukis. She had really beautiful dogs and she's sitting there going, I'd like to breed for a neck two inches longer. It's one of the oldest known breeds and this woman wants a neck two inches longer, so she'll inbreed. I understand why Border Collie owners fiercely resisted the breed being in the AKC.

My neighbor has a bulldog that's in heat right now, driving my big Presa Canario crazy. (No, he's not neutered yet but will be and he's a rare breed.)
posted by shoesietart at 1:16 PM on November 24, 2011


Not true; I still use my bulldogs for bear-baiting, the way God intended.

Schutzhund is not necessarily about using your GSD as a Real Professional Guard Dog, either. It's about ensuring that dogs can still do what they were originally bred to do, and thus ensuring that they conform to a minimum standard of health. I'm sure that bulldog breeders could come up with a similar working standard for bulldogs, one which has nothing to do with actually baiting bears or bulls -- they simply don't, because then it would be obvious that many of their dogs can barely breathe.
posted by vorfeed at 1:23 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Changing breed standard is an extremely sensible solution.

I know nothing about the kennel club culture, so I take your word for what it would take to fix it.

But oh man. As an outside observer, the fact the "breed standards" -- that are based on appearance and not health -- even exist seems really creepy and eugenics-y.
posted by auto-correct at 1:34 PM on November 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


The bulldog was already saved by the French (or was it the English?)
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:59 PM on November 24, 2011


Bring back bull-baiting. It was when they stopped working and became ornamental or pets that the rot set in.

The history of the bulldog actually goes back a long way: they may be descendants of the ancient Molossus, or an ancient British variation on it that impressed the Romans, or that may all be a load of malarkey. There are actually many variants these days, including the smaller, bat-eared French variety and Miniatures. I'd like to give an honourable mention also to the Dogue de Bordeaux, not a bulldog but a close cousin and so resolutely anti-nazi that Hitler ordered apparently ordered its extermination and almost succeeded.

I was joking about the bull-baiting.
posted by Segundus at 2:01 PM on November 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The bulldog was already saved by the French (or was it the English?)

English bulldog/French bulldog - six of one, half dozen of another. Similar health issues.
posted by shoesietart at 2:05 PM on November 24, 2011


I assumed this post was about what would happen to the biggest coffeeshop in Amsterdam when they stop them selling weed to tourists.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:31 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kind of related, I love how there's an extinct breed called Old English Bulldog, and when people wanted to try to recreate it in the 70s, they called it Olde English Bulldogge. I'm surprised they didn't require the name to always be set in an Old English typeface and spoken with a Cockney accent.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:38 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Perhaps boycott the AKC (and their affiliates) until they change breed standards to promote the breeding of healthy dogs?

The AKC seems so antiquated. There is no incentive for them to change, much less the people who breed dogs to AKC standards.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:48 PM on November 24, 2011


Perhaps boycott the AKC

I'd be all for this, but I'm pretty sure I haven't given any money to the AKC recently -- probably ever.

The people you'd need to get to boycott the AKC are people with a vested interest in preserving the status quo. The AKC's stance is pretty clearly just an expression of the underlying breeders / owners desire to not have the boat rocked, inbred dogs be damned.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:55 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


How about we just stop breeding dogs and adopt the mutts that are in the pound right now?

-- signed, CPB's half Black Lab / half Whippet 15-year-old pound puppy.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:57 PM on November 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


There are quite a few people like myself who love the bulldog but not the medical problems. When my husband and I decided we could not afford the extra vet bills, we got a 3/4-- she is 3/4 English Bulldog and 1/4 boxer-- they and the 7/8 are becoming more popular around here. Our Fanny is 9 and still going strong although she can't hike for hours like she used to. She is taller and thinner than bulldogs, in fact she looks a lot like the proposed ideal with a nipped in waist and a slightly elongated muzzle.

She has all the great bulldog attributes: she rarely barks, she is gentle with kids and kittens, she is stoic, and she is calm. She is happy to lounge all day on the couch and doesn't need to be entertained, but she loves to snuggle. She is very obedient and is a secret pooper. And so very, very eager to please.

On the other hand, she snores and farts a lot. Welcome to the bulldog world!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:28 PM on November 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I like greyhounds. While individual dogs have different temperaments and quirks, in general a greyhound is very much like another greyhound, and not at all like, say, a lab. That means that if you adopt a greyhound you are going to know all the specific things you should know about the breed and can interpret the new dog based on their breed. So you already know about their sensitivity to anesthesia, their sensitive tummies, their (generally) quiet sweetness and their willingness to learn. There are enormously bad things in greyhound racing, and I do think it would be best for it to be much more vigorously regulated and perhaps eliminated. This would be a sorrowful thing, but the gain would outweigh the loss in my opinion.

If you get a dog from the pound, you don't know anything about its genetic background or what you're getting. Call me crazy, but if I'm going to be living with someone for the rest of their life, I want to know what kind of person with whom I'm sharing a house. For example, I need a roommate who is quiet and tidy (by doggy standards) who is affectionate but not pushy and who is quite happy with a mile long walk once in the morning and then at night and sleeps the rest of the time. If I had a lab living with me we'd both be wretched, because labs are the frat boys of the puppy kingdom.

Breed standards are not all bad.
posted by winna at 3:30 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are there unruined lines of Collie with heads that are not the shape of an exacto blade?

Meet the English Shepherd. youcancallmeal convinced me that they were worth checking out as a prospective farm dog, and, for as frustrating as my E.S. can be, he's also excellent at keeping the chickens where they should be, alerts when strange trucks drive up (before jumping in them) and has a warm but responsible temperament.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:50 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


When it comes to dogs (and people too, probably) Hybid Vigor should be a guiding principle.
posted by squalor at 3:59 PM on November 24, 2011


Hybrid vigor is a myth (PDF).
posted by vers at 4:09 PM on November 24, 2011


That "Hybird Vigor" PDF says that designer dog of any stripe are prone to a sea of issues, not that larger gene pools give an animal a better shot. And there's at least a paragraph pretending that "Hybrid Vigor" as a phrase does't make sense because a true hybrid is a cross between two species, which is true in a very literal sense, but not at all useful for the topic allegedly at hand.

Pedigreed dogs have been exposed, again and again and again.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:25 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


in fact she looks a lot like the proposed ideal with a nipped in waist and a slightly elongated muzzle.

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwww
posted by Hoopo at 4:34 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like greyhounds. (...) Breed standards are not all bad.
The AKC's breed standard for greyhounds seems to be entirely physical. They're great dogs, but I don't think the breed standard can be given much credit for that fact.
posted by Flunkie at 4:38 PM on November 24, 2011


The AKC's breed standard for greyhounds seems to be entirely physical. They're great dogs, but I don't think the breed standard can be given much credit for that fact.

As I pointed out in my earlier comment, winna's greyhound is likely a retired racer, and therefore purebred but not AKC registered.
posted by misskaz at 5:14 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seconding Misskaz. Any greyhound you are likely to meet will be an NGA-registered (racing) greyhound rather than AKC -- the ratio is literally thousands to 1. These dogs would not be who they are without the careful breeding that goes into making great racers and the training they get for the track. I also agree that the racing industry can preserve the breed if the health, safety and adoption of the hounds are held to high standards.
posted by vers at 5:30 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"condo-dwelling neighbor's Border Collie"

... A dog that probably requires an acreage to really have enough space to run, in a fucking condo?

I wouldn't be mad at the dog, I'd be livid at the owner.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:34 PM on November 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I have huge amounts of bully love, but I decided years ago that I couldn't take the heartbreak of a dog that only lives 7 years. It's not really the huge droolly heads that I love, but the clowny goofy quality so many English bulldogs have -- and the fact that they feel exactly like a plushy toy.

There seem to be a plethora of newly created breeds that attempt to resolve the breed's health issues: Olde English Bulldogge, the Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge,the Australian bulldog and the list goes on. There's a fuller list at this site, but I'm sure it's not complete: Different bulldog breeds.

I'd like to know, though, how they bred out the aggression from the English bulldog: I've never met a Pit bull that wasn't a huge, goofy, affectionate suck, but I'm still nervous about adopting one, mostly because of my cats. I do not want to come home one fine day and discover that slaughter has occurred. Maybe the solution to the problems of unhealthy, tragic bullies and shelters filled to the brim with unadoptable pits is a union of the two?
posted by jrochest at 5:36 PM on November 24, 2011


(Oh, and bulldog snoring is a wonderful cure for insomnia.)

Not that you would want to be in the same room, nor the room next door, nor the room next to that -- not unless you have lost all sense of smell.

Snoring bulldogs: not silent, always deadly.
posted by y2karl at 5:45 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the derail, but Grimgrin, you understand. I am not angry with the dog at all. But every time the BC rushes us, all I can see is the dog's pent-up frustration. If there were ever a breed to not have in a condo, BCs on the main would be it. Purpose-bred, without a job. Full disclosure; my dogs have jobs, which consist mainly of keeping me safe on walks, pouncing on toys, sleeping and snuggling. It wears them out, every day. And that's why I don't have a BC or a lab. I have greyhounds.
posted by vers at 5:48 PM on November 24, 2011


jrochest, pit bull types weren't bred for human or pet aggression. They are the only type that's been bred specifically for dog aggression.

This article on pitbulls by Gary Wilkes is very much worth a read for anyone considering adopting a pitbull, as I did.
posted by vers at 5:55 PM on November 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I grew up with labs-world's best dogs-but got a rescue bulldog about 7 years ago. Poor thing-she is very sweet, but barely a dog-total PiTA. If humans were wiped off the face of the earth, she'd be dead in, oh, 12 hours. Only likes to be outside if it's between 72 and 76 degrees. Needs special food for her skin and digestive issues. Has to see a special, extra expensive, vet. Hates other dogs. Smells. Etc, etc. Never again.
posted by purenitrous at 6:06 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


For comparison, the poultry care standards of Animal Welfare Approved, a food certification organization acting in the interests of humane treatment of animals, includes the following criterion: "2.0.1 Birds who have undergone genetic selection to the point that their welfare is negatively affected are prohibited." This is in response to the Cornish Cross broiler chicken.

So at least one animal welfare rights organization considers it possible to breed an animal into such a state that it constitutes. I don't personally disagree. No idea if there's a similar organization advocating for humane dog genetics, but there fucking well should be.
posted by stet at 6:08 PM on November 24, 2011


Yes, keep the AKC away from Border Collies, Queensland Heelers, and Kelpies. All three are fine breeds and can make excellent pets IF they're trained well and exercised. They're healthy, active, and smart, and I'm sure the AKC could FUBAR that up completely.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:02 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


CPB, I wish I could favorite that a million times. All of my critters are rescues - two cats and two dogs. The cats are a 12 year old American Shorthair and a 5 year old Dollfaced Persian. The dogs are an 8 year old pit bull/lab mix and a 2 month old GSD/boxer.

Fetching them all out of critter jail was horrifying - so many animals in need. People need to look for companions, not trophies.

I'm lying in bed right now. The shorthair is crashed on my husband, they are both snoring like hell. The Persian is mashed against my head, petting my face with her claws half out. The boxer is lying on my chest, watching the Persian, and the pibble is wedged between my husband and me, snoring and farting. Who needs breeders, with such wonderful mutts? Give a mutt a home, and you'll both be happy!
posted by MissySedai at 8:50 PM on November 24, 2011


There are no wild bulldogs. Or, for that matter, wild golden retrievers, wild pugs, wild Boston terriers or wild anything that falls into canis domesticus. It's right there in the name. We made them all.

A quibble, griphus: they are Canis lupus var. domesticus, a subspecies of the gray wolf, according to the current research. Which follows from the observation that wolf/dog cross-breeds are almost invariably fertile.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:56 PM on November 24, 2011


Are insurance premiums for bulldogs higher than for other breeds?
posted by morganw at 9:43 PM on November 24, 2011


(Oh, and bulldog snoring is a wonderful cure for insomnia.)

Not that you would want to be in the same room, nor the room next door, nor the room next to that -- not unless you have lost all sense of smell.

Snoring bulldogs: not silent, always deadly.


Our oldest one often sounds like a truck with air brakes. Really, really rotten egg stinky air brakes. Can't help but love the little fartbombers, though.
posted by azpenguin at 10:02 PM on November 24, 2011


If you get a dog from the pound, you don't know anything about its genetic background or what you're getting.

True. But on the whole you can rely on a mutt being healthier than a purebred dog. And there are plenty of breed rescue operations that ensure you can get almost any breed you want if you're willing to wait. And they're not interested in having you adopt a dog that doesn't meet your needs, because the last thing they want is a failed adoption, so they're pretty good with matching personalities with owners.

The big problem for me is that so many breeders of some breeds seem to have no problems with the fact that their dogs might look good (by standards of good set by various kennel clubs) but have automatic health problems, and will breed knowing that there will be inevitable health issues. The interviews for the BBC documentary were eye-opening - does anyone remember the disgust that was expressed for the way working German Shepherds looked by people who bred them for shows? Once you've got a dog like the King Charles Spaniel where there are horrible, painful effects of breeding the Kennel Clubs should yank your right to show until you've got the problem solved and the breed is not living in pain. Of course, that will never happen because the various KCs are filled with the very people who think this is all fine and dandy.

(And why does it not surprise me that Bulldogs are the most popular breed in LA, a city that has a new unsuitable dog favourite each year or so? I love bulldogs but they can have heart attacks on hot days in England. LA would strike me as about the most miserable climate for the breed that one could imagine.)
posted by lesbiassparrow at 5:17 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


LA would strike me as about the most miserable climate for the breed that one could imagine.

A few years ago, during a particularly hot NYC summer, I saw a dude dragging a tired, old bulldog around in a Radio Flyer wagon full of towels.
posted by griphus at 7:07 AM on November 25, 2011


Any species that can't reproduce without human intervention should be allowed to follow it's natural course...``

This would pretty much end agribusiness as we know it. Perhaps not a bad thing.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:40 PM on November 25, 2011


If you get a dog from the pound, you don't know anything about its genetic background or what you're getting.

True. But on the whole you can rely on a mutt being healthier than a purebred dog.

True that, lesbiassparrow.

It's like purebred enthusiasts are saying, "You don't know what coin you're going to get in that grab bag, so settle for a nickle... which might be wooden."
posted by IAmBroom at 9:22 AM on November 26, 2011


If you get a dog from the pound, you don't know anything about its genetic background or what you're getting.

I think this depends largely on the shelter you adopt from. Certainly, the yellow Lab/Aussie mix I adopted from the Dog Warden some years back was a bit of a crap shoot - they found him wandering around and eating out of garbage cans. And indeed, we took a hell of a gamble, and lost. He turned out to have epilepsy, which is probably why his people turned him loose, and it claimed him 9 months after we adopted him. I still miss him so much, he was a great dog.

My two current LickMonsters were owner surrenders to the local Humane Society. They've got pretty decent background records, and in the puppy's case, we were able to meet his Mama, too, as she and her litter of 5 adorable mooses were surrendered together.
posted by MissySedai at 10:42 AM on November 26, 2011


Also a good point, MissySedai.

I met both parents of my dog (who was from an unwanted litter, but not a rescue). Much more information there than in a stack of pedigree papers.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:35 PM on November 26, 2011


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