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« New Season of Dogtown premiers tonight | Main | Weekly Roundup, Week ending 3/22/09 »

March 21, 2009

Comments

EmilyS

The English Bulldog is an easy target for the anti-AKC/anti-breeding crowd. It is a very very sad story and it is a disgusting creature. But despite the hysteria about purebred dogs, few are in that bad condition.. and NO ONE has proved that "hybred vigor" exists in "mutts". The truth is probably that ALL dogs have genetic diseases. We only know about the problems in purebred dogs, because responsible breeders CARE about the problems and try to find solutions. Most of the people attacking the AKC, including Terrierman, don't believe in purebred dogs at all, especially not one like he who compares it to racist "eugenics".

What Terrierman writes about the history of the English Bulldog, like his writing about the bullbreeds, is 99% fact-free. We KNOW what bulldogs of the post Civil War period (which is when "breeds" were "created) look like.. because by then both photography and dog shows were common. This is documentation unlike the not-very-anatomically-correct paintings/drawings of animals before photography. So we KNOW that by the 1870's, the bulldog and the several bull&terrier breeds had already dramatically diverged. The photographs of bulldogs of the time show that the breed had already acquired the heavy body, under-slung jaw and curled tail (though without today's slug-like exaggeration). There were also several bull&terrier breeds already well established. NONE of these was called the "Staffordshire Terrier". So his contention that the modern English bulldog is a Staffordshire-pug cross is just laughably wrong. And of course there was no such thing as a "pitbull" either. One of the American bull and terrier breeds, of course, was the dog that was named the "American Pit Bull Terrier" in 1890. This dog did not exist in the UK so obviously had nothing to do with the bulldog's development there. In the UK, the cousin/founder breed of the ABPT became known as the "Staffordshire Bull Terrier".... in 1934. (earlier, it had a variety of names, none of which was "bulldog").

Terrierman is completely ignorant of the history of the APBT/SBT and its relationships to other bull&terrier breeds, let alone the bulldog. The white dog that represents the USA in the Wallace Robinson WWI posters is called an "American Bull Terrier" because at that time, the APBT and the BT were very very closely related. So much so that APBTs were sometimes shown as BTs in AKC conformation, and its fanciers wanted to call them ABTs when pushing for AKC recognition (the BT club vetoed this, which is how the breed came to be called the "Staffordshire Terrier" in 1936). No one knows whether that particular dog (probably modelled after a real animal) is of the down-faced BT breed (the breed did not then have the exaggerated Roman nose) or a white APBT. But it was recognized and used in propaganda as a uniquely AMERICAN dog. Its courage was already proverbial.

So make whatever points you want to about the English bulldog and how it "proves" that purebred dogs are disgusting freaks But DONT claim it derives from any of the bull&terrier dogs. The APBT and SBT are as legitimate and purebred, and as well documented, as any breed on the planet. They are NOT bulldogs. They are NOT Molosser breeds. And their owners are NOT (as Terrierman also wrote) mostly dogfighters.

JAL

Yes EBs are an easy target.They are popular and over bred and it's all a disaster from my point of view because there are a number of dedicated breeders of bulldogs and frenchies who are working hard to undo much of the damage.

That includes rigorous health screening and even the creation of new screening tests and regimes to address issues of particular concern to those breeds. The French Bulldog Club has undertaken a spinal screening study with OFA, the Bulldog Club has embarked on a trachea study with OFA, nearly complete, that will hopefully become a registry and a similar program to address upper airway issues in brachycephalics is in the works.

Based on 21 years of experience, screening dogs, of any breed, for basic health and soundness will generally do away with extremes of conformation. For the short faced breeds, pekes, bulldogs, pugs, taking a zero tolerance approach to airway disease or deficiency and also eyelid anomalies will determine what length of muzzle, degree of wrinkle etc... can be bourn without infringing on the dog's welfare.

PAMM - People Against Malformed Mutts

I love it when breed enthusiasts defend abnormalities and genetic defects.

JAL

PAMM I am specifically advocating for very rigorous health testing, all based on objective scientific study. If you think that bulldogs, brussels griffons or basset hounds are going to "poof" vanish because they offend you, I would not hold my breath. In the first and second world wars, people with these breeds starved themselves to give food the dogs and keep them alive, even though in many places it was a jailable offence. Your derisive, dismissive tone is not going to make them let these dogs become extinct.

If you want to improve canine welfare and prevent the suffering of breeds from exaggeration of whatever sort, then working with people who have them to come to a compromise that will yield tremendous benefits for future generations of dogs and owners would be a far more rewarding course.

"Based on 21 years of experience, screening dogs, of any breed, for basic health and soundness will generally do away with extremes of conformation. For the short faced breeds, pekes, bulldogs, pugs, taking a zero tolerance approach to airway disease or deficiency and also eyelid anomalies will determine what length of muzzle, degree of wrinkle etc... can be bourn without infringing on the dog's welfare."

What about my previous statement is unreasonable? OFA does not, trust me, give dispensation to any dog because of it's breed. If it's dysplastic, it's dysplastic. If it has a small trachea, it has a small trachea. OFA does not grade on a curve. Neither does the University of PA Or UC Davis, or any other organization which manages screening tests and data bases. Got an issue with pug's noses? Make them be screened according to a criteria developed by researchers and veterinarians as to what permits normal respiration. Do that and over a few generations the nares and muzzle will modify to a reasonable degree that both keeps the breeds character and makes for happier dogs, owners and vets. If people claim that the dogs need no improvement? Prove it by screening them clear.

If you just don't like any of the idea of purebred dogs or breeds or shows or UKC, ADBA, AKC or whatever, it is thankfully a free country wherein folks can still select for themselves a companion of their choosing. I fight for people to have the right to keep any breed or mix responsibly. And I advocate just as strongly for more involvement by owners and breeders in medical, genetic and temperamental screening programs for any dog considered for breeding, giant, toy, short legged, short-faced or wild-type what-have-you.

Brent

JAL,

I think your ideas makes sense. I want to say though -- this is not just about short-nosed breeds. I'm disgusted by what is being done to the hindquarters of German Shepherds, and some of the brain diseases -- especially in Cavelier King Spaniels. The whole idea of the Rhodesian Ridgeback (having the distinctive feature -- the ridge - being linked to the same gene that is related to spina bifida). It's pretty bad stuff.

I don't have a problem with the idea of purebred dogs or breeds or shows. However, these groups need to start showing that they are worthy of the respect they think they deserve. That means not only the zero tolerance policies you talk about, but also changing the criteria and judging for these shows to not reward the behavior we're trying to stop...breeding genetic freaks of dogs that only have the most extreme of their characteristics.

If they don't solve it on their own, let's not pretend that HSUS and others won't try to create solutions for them -- which is a scary proposition.

PAMM - People Against Malformed Mutts

JAL - apparently you consider yourself a breed enthusiast - we got that clear!

JAL

Brent, good points. I'd like to see more emphasis put on performance events for dogs that don't have a practical working outlet which I also think would put more emphasis on function.

But even if you get the breed clubs on track, in the case of even moderately popular breeds, MOST of the dogs bred do not belong to club members. They are being bred specifically for resale and to the fashion the public wants or just to make as many as possible as fast as possible. And if UKC or AKC were to change requirements, they just move to another "fast food" pop up registry.

I do believe that moderating the standards or at least clarifying their original intent and letting the public see move athletically built, functional dogs on TV via venue such as Eukanuba etc might have a positive effect on what the general public sees as correct.
As with puppy mills, if the public begins to demand better and stops patronizing breeders and dogs that are working to a higher standard (no pun intended) then you would/will see real change.

But lordy, I see a lot of "fad" breeding come through our rescue, marketed on-line as "rare" blah blah blah. Not good for anyone. I have to assume that at least some of the people who bought the dogs knew that something was fishy, but there are always people who just want something different or are willing to buy a dog that may have serious issues because it's just a little bit cheaper or they didn't have to answer any pesky questions from the breeder.

JAL

Patrick had this up on his site a while back. very good, common sense and easy to institute guidelines, would love to see it adopted world wide

http://skk.se/pdf/funktionar/srd_eng.pdf

Hows SweetP?

Brent

Thanks for posting that -- I don't always catch everything over there because for some reason my RSS feed won't serve up his site. I agree that that seems like a pretty common sense approach.

SweetP is good -- thanks for asking. She is going to be a struggle though trying to keep her calmed down on it for the next 6-8 weeks. She is now to the point where she barely realizes she is still injured.

JAL

Fantastic! Having been through it, I know that those 6-8 weeks seem like forever for all involved. :-)

Our girl went another 8 active years on the repaired knee and you'd never have known she'd been a three legged dog before surgery. best wishes for the same result for your girl.

Jen

It sounds like everyone who has posted here are really all in agreement - we all want dogs to be healthy. "Breeder" has become a bad word, and that is unfortunate as there are many good breeders out there who care about dogs and their breed and are doing their best to keep their lines clean.

Unfortunately, until the AKC stops indoctrinating their members with lies and makes animal welfare a priority, things won't change anytime soon. But the AKC makes too much money off puppy mills, so why would they want to put an end to that?

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What AKC accepted breeds are least popular

Mary

Can anyone tel me where to find the info that just broke about AKC failing on inspections and allowing nothing better than puppy mills to exist as AKC breeders? Was in news a couple days ago and now I can't find anything. Was this squashed? Why? By whom?
This world is becoming so disgusting I want to run & hide until it's all over.

Brent

http://www.today.com/news/akc-registered-breeders-raising-dogs-miserable-conditions-6C9640008

Mary -- here's a link to the recent story.

Pat F.

AKC registers dogs, not people or breeders. The Today Show segment was a biased report.

I'm not saying that the AKC is a perfect organization. It registers millions of dogs; and physically cannot inspect everyone who breeds them. It is not the police or Animal Control or USDA. It does lobby against BSL.

The breeders of AKC-registered dogs that I have known are far above puppy millers on the evolutionary scale; they have 4-8 dogs in their residences, the dogs sleep indoors and are part of the human family; they are exhibited in dog shows and obedience trials and given breed-appropriate health screening before they are bred (which is usually after the age of two or three years). The AKC-registered dogs I've had for the last 20 years have come from such people, and lived to be, respectively, nearly 16 (my most successful show dog), 14.5 (his half-sister, the mother of my only litter), nearly 13 (her daughter, who predeceased most of her littermates and their sire), and my current dog who is a healthy and loving six-year-old English Cocker. I have loved them all very much.

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