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[Left] a show bred Pug [Right a working jadg terrier] Notice the difference in length of muzzle.
Today it seems as though every one is a breeder and runs a ‘kennel’. The problem is not so much that there are more breeders but it’s the quality and ethics associated with these so called breeders.It’s sad to say that dog health has never been as bad as it is right now. In the UK and USA alone more than 50% of dogs are currently suffering from obesity and new diseases in dogs are cropping up plaguing many of the new designer and exotic breeds. One such disease is know as Brachycephalexia in which breeds such as the French bulldog, Boston terriers and English bulldog are intentionally bred to have a shorter-nose and flat-face. This results in excessive snorting, grunting and wheezing which are not normal noises but are signs that a flat-faced dog is struggling to breathe or of an obstruction to breathing.

Ironically, the Kennel Club has been a main contributor in supporting the breeding of such dogs by helping to create the breed standards by which these dogs are supposed to be judged on.

But this raises the question should dogs be bred based on their looks?

 

Above The English Bulldog then [Left] and now [Right]

Take for example the English Bulldog, this was a breed originally bred for hunting, fighting and baiting activities and was a naturally athletic, agile and a tenacious breed. Fast forward to the present day and the english bulldog is an embarrassment to its ancestors! Today the English bulldog struggles to breathe let alone hunt. The reason for this is they have been bred based on a standard of what they should ‘look like’ rather than how they should perform or function. Unfortunately this has led to the Modern English Bulldog becoming shorter, blockier and flat faced because according to their current breeding standard this is what signifies courage and strength.

 

[Left a present day English Bulldog] [Right an american bulldog]
Take on the other hand the American Bulldog [pictured above right] They are an ancestor of the original english bulldog and look very similar to their ancient counterpart because they are still bred for their working abilities and not just their looks. Many of todays American bulldogs can be found at working protection events or personal or catching wild boar.

 

Form Follows Function

Pictured: Roach an ‘Exotic Bully’ Created by a combination of XL Bully and French Bulldog

It is a fact that dogs who are bred for performance are inadvertently healthier and more functional than dogs that are bred for looks.  Take the dog Roach for example [pictured above]. He is an example of a new trending breed called ‘Exotic Bully’ in which XL American Bullies and crossed with French Bulldogs. The goal is to create an even Bullier micro version of the French Bulldog which is already a breed listed as having severe health issues.

Alternatively, when you breed towards a function such as protection work, agility or dock diving instead of a ‘Look’ you naturally select for functional performance traits such as agility, endurance or strength. Dogs that possess such functional movements are rarely plagued with structural faults and diseases. 

Above two versions of the English Bullterrier. Which one would you prefer?

FUTURE CONSIDERATION

Breeders must step up to their duty and begin breeding healthier dogs. They should do this by focusing on health not looks because form follows function, never the other way round. All dogs can be functional, just pick any of the dozens of dog activities and get out with your dog! Some activities you can do include the following:

  • Agility
  • Dock diving
  • Weight Pulling
  • Protection
  • Legal Hunting
  • Herding
  • Canicross
  • Sled dragging

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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