Last week my husband and I were out driving when we saw a man walking a beautiful German Shepherd. My husband asked “why is that dog walking so weirdly?” I told him it is because German Shepherds are now bred to have shorter hind legs to better show off the sloping back that German Shepherds now have to have if they are going to qualify for dog shows and breeding rights.
That got me thinking about the ways dogs have changed over the years, not naturally, but by interbreeding recessive genes in order to get certain results, German Shepherds used to look like a regular dogs with four normal legs, until someone decided that they knew better about what a dog should look like.
People have , over the years changed many dogs, turning them from healthy animals into something that barely resembles their former physiology.
Bulldogs, for example have been altered so that they are no longer capable of breeding without human help, or delivering babies without the aid of humans. Sad. They say that there really is no such thing as a healthy bulldog. Their life expectancy is now only six to eight years as they are prone to many diseases.
Boxers and Pugs have had their muzzles shrunk over the past hundred years so that they now have often serious respiratory problems. Pugs have high blood pressure, heart problems, dental problems and skin fold dermititus.
The Basset Hound has gotten lower, has changes to its rear leg structure, has excessive skin, vertebra problems, droopy eyes prone to entropion and ectropion and overly huge ears.
Bull Terriers used to have a normal looking dog head. Now their skulls have changed giving them a bullet-like appearance.
King Charles Spaniels, famous for their round dome heads often have trouble when their brains grow too large for their skulls, leaving them in constant pain and misery.
I could go on and on. So many breeds have been turned from healthy animals into animals that are bred for their looks, never mind that these changes adversely affect their health. All for what?
Why should WE decide how a dog should look? Have we been become so arrogant that we feel we know how dogs are supposed to look even though originally they appeared totally different?
The life span of a purebred dog is usually much shorter than a “mutt” which has a life expectancy of 16 years, compared to six to ten years for a purebred dog.
Please understand that I am not criticizing every purebred dog out there. Many people want to know what to expect when their puppy grows into an adult. I am merely stating that I don’t think man-made genetic traits should be used to judge the value of a dog.
I also object to what humans have done to turn dogs into showpieces by surgically altering them. Why do we have to cut off tails and ears? I’m sure the dog would rather keep them. Why else were they born with them?
I once visited a home where a litter of Boxers had been born a week before. I asked the owner why the puppies had tight elastics on their tails. She informed me that this was so the circulation would be cut off to the lower tail, and would then drop away from the dog. As I watched in horror, one little pup, trying to snuggle in to nurse on his mother, suddenly dropped his tail in the bed.
Why? It seems really stupid to cut the tails off of dogs when they use their tails to show so much emotion. And why the ear cropping? Is your dog better looking (to humans) when his ears are cut and then wrapped in curlers so they will grow to stand up straight?
In a way, humans are basically using experimentation to create designer dogs. To me it is wrong.
If you love dogs, you should love them no matter how they look. I once met a lady who had adopted a German Shepherd from a family who had raised him for a year. They decided that the Shepherd just would not do! They didn’t want him any longer because a back molar was discoloured! That to me is so shallow. Those people didn’t love dogs, they only wanted their dog if he was perfect and whose puppies would bring in big dollars. I don’t think they even deserve to own a dog. How do you raise a puppy for a year and then just turn him away because of a yellow tooth? THAT is not love!!
Let’s leave the dogs alone. Dogs were not put here to be ornaments, to be judged by false standards. I believe they are here to love, to play and to enjoy their lives, just as we want to.
We try to show young people that what you look like is not as important as what is inside . I think the same principle should be applied to our four-legged friends.