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Pedigree Dogs Exposed

I finally gathered my courage to watch Pedigree Dogs Exposed, the documentary that caused BBC to pull airing Crufts this year. You can watch here.

Watching these breeders defend inbreeding, eugenics and physical deformities as "good" and "true to standard" made me sick to my stomach. 

All I can see now when I look at my favorite smosh-faced breeds - the pugs, frenchies and bostons - are wonderful dogs who stoically trudge on amidst a ream's worth of congenital deformities inflicted upon them by their "loving" humans. 

And apparently that whole "skull is too small for brain" bit is actually true in the case of  cavalier king charles spaniels. Some of these dogs have a congenital defect where their skulls are too small for their brain, causing mild to severe pain and neurological defects.

While unsurprising, the most offensive response is from the breeders. Their denial and total arrogance appalls me. I do not know how you argue against dozens of peer-reviewed studies with a straight face, but these breeders were doing it.

At some point, if nothing is changed, some of these breeds are just going to be so genetically fucked that they won't be able to breed, period. Which, quite frankly, will be a blessing for these dogs who suffer in silence so that a few humans can rejoice loudly over ribbons. Best in show seems like it's going to go to the dogs with a large gene pool and breeders who care about function, sound form and overall physical health more than "furnishings".



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 22nd, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
I doubt I will ever own a pure-bred dog, unless there happens to be one at the pound (and it does happen). The only dog 'shows' I watch are the agility ones, and that's because it's something a mutt can win! I'd rather have a unique dog (Shadow has a perfectly question-mark shaped splotch on her head) than one 'true to form' any day. I don't see anything great in a bunch of dogs that look exactly like each other...
Mar. 22nd, 2009 08:44 am (UTC)
I watched that and wanted to cry through most of it... GSDs with wobbly back ends, dogs unable to breathe and do doggy things, healthy happy Ridgeback puppies being killed because they didn't get the deformity that gives them a ridge... and the whole time, the show community defending it because "It's to STANDARD!!!111!!one!"

It really makes you understand why the Jack Russel & Border Collie parent clubs had people fighting so hard to keep their dogs out of the AKC.
Mar. 22nd, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
It broke my heart. I just can't imagine arguing, with a straight face, that it is perfectly okay to kill healthy puppies and yet that's exactly what these breeders were doing.

And the judge who argued that the americanized GSD could actually function as a herding and guardian dog more so than european/healthy lines? Egad, I mean, really, who ARE these people?!?

I totally understand why groups who breed working dogs don't want anything to do with physical standardization. It makes little sense, genetically or functionally.
Mar. 25th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
I really can't either. In Germany, some breeders kill fawn Dobes as puppies for the same reason: "They don't look right."

I really think that for working breeds, the work should be part of titling them. Make the Dobes do Schutzhund, make the GSDs herd something or do Schutzhund, demonstrate that these animals are not only pretty but physically sound and capable!
Mar. 22nd, 2009 08:54 am (UTC)
They do this with alpacas too :-(. I'm proud to say that my alpacas are not show quality. Especially Otto, who is the most AMAZING person, has funny toenails and so would fail a showing totally :-).

Mar. 22nd, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
I'm not surprised. They've done it with a lot of livestock breeds (all species, for the most part) with damaging health consequences.

Your alpacas, show quality or not, rule. Otto has a squishable nose. Do alpacas like having their noses squished? I discovered llamas don't particularly like that. :)
Mar. 25th, 2009 11:42 am (UTC)
Alpacas like and dislike pretty much the same things as llamas. Hypothetically, Otto would not like you to squish his nose ... but because he wouldn't like it, it ain't gonna happen. Alpacas have VERY fast reactions!

Otto would like you to visit and entertain him, though.
Mar. 22nd, 2009 08:54 am (UTC)


Mar. 22nd, 2009 10:05 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh. I wish to give him snuzzles and whatever it is that alpacas consider to be desireable food.

Of course, afterward I wish to knit things from his hair, because alpaca is a seriously amazing fiber. But first I wish to feed him!
Mar. 25th, 2009 11:40 am (UTC)
Would you belive alpacas don't like snuzzles? They DO like company. But it's not meant to touch them. They're mad.

When you visit, Otto would like you to feed him grapes, please.
Mar. 25th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
That seems terribly unfair, that alpacas would walk around with the most perfect fur on earth, and not like snuzzles. I would have to content myself with feeding grapes and ogling their amazing eyelashes. Perhaps while reciting alpaca-centric poetry. I have this dream of one day having a fiber animal farm so that I can knit with fibers I know were raised and live humanely!
Mar. 25th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
You're right. It's very unfair.

Can you spin? If yes, send me your postal address and I'll try to send you some raw Otto fleece. I've got plenty, although I don't know when I'll get around to packing it up for postage.
Mar. 25th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
I can spin if the cats are locked out of the room (they find a drop spindle just too much temptation)!

I would love having some Otto fleece, and would be happy to reimburse you for postage! Does your LJ e-mail addy work?
Mar. 25th, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
Don't reimburse me, but do send me your postal address. But don't hold your breath! I'm behind on everything at the moment.

Mar. 22nd, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
That was hard to watch.
Mar. 22nd, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I had to stop it a couple times. It's just sad.
Mar. 22nd, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
I broke it down into two parts. Half one day, half another.

It's also hard to read the breeders and purebred dog enthusiasts argue about how wrong it is.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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