Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Problem with Dogs

If you don't follow Terrierman's blog, I highly recommend it. He's got more great information on there about what is wrong with the dogs in the world of closed registry systems. A new report was just released that exposes much of what is wrong with many of today's pedigree dogs.

Some of the main points include:

  • "All objective studies which have compared average age at a death have found that cross breeds, and in particular small cross breeds, live longer than individuals of most of the pure breeds. .. there is also considerable evidence that cross breeds dogs have lower veterinary bills."" (p. 7)

  • "Much of the suffering which some pedigree dogs endure is unnecessary and a substantial part could be avoided with revised practices." (p. 8)

  • "Typically, modern dog breeds originated from a relatively small number of founder animals .... For the last 50 years, dog registration rules in the U.K. have stipulated that out-crossing (breeding with another breed) is not normally permitted .... One of the outcomes of this approach ... is that purebred dogs are genetic isolates. in this way, the Kennel Club, breed societies, and the pedigree dog showing community have formally endorsed the inbreeding of dogs." (p. 19)

  • "The link between inbreeding and increased disease risks in purebred dogs has been noted by many authors and comprehensively reviewed ..." (p. 20)

  • "There is direct evidence that many pedigree breeds have undergone a good deal of inbreeding. In a study of 11,384 Portuguese Water Dogs in the USA, all of them were found to originate from only 31 founders, and ten animals were responsible for 90% of the current gene pool. Similarly, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed, which is mentioned in this report in connection with both mitral valve disease and syringomyelia, was established in 1928 and is believed to have descended from just six dogs." (p. 21)

  • In 10 breeds studied (Boxer, English Bulldog, Chow Chow, Rough Collie, Golden Retriever, Greyhound, German Shepherd Dog, English Springer Spaniel, Akita Inu), nine had effective population sizes of less than 100 individuals, despite actual populations of 1,060 to 703,566 animals per breed.

  • Among the priority recommendations, supported by over 94% of respondents: "Open stud books to allow more frequent introduction of new genetic material into established breeds in order to increase genetic pools." (p.40)

If you want to know more, a summary of the study can be found here.


Albert A Rasch said...

Hey Doug,

Every dog I've owned, but one, has been a crossbred mongrel. Never had a days problem with them. Mostly good for nothing but companionship, but I never train them for a purpose either. Still I love 'em all!

Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit
Southeast Regional OBS Coordinator

Doug said...

I'm fairly new to the world of dogs - I've only had 4. But so far, I'm right with you. Only one of them was a pure pred, and she's cute, but she's not the sharpest tool in the shed, and she is porne to other genetic problems, like tumors and bad teeth.

I like my little crossbreeds.