A much-used breeding method is line breeding, which is a form of inbreeding. This method makes animals vulnerable to genetic defects and diseases. These defects are the direct consequence of inbreeding, which is the mating between relatives. This is done to keep and intensify certain breed characteristics. Natural selection, a mechanism that prevents sickly or unsuitable animals from reproducing, is kept out of the breeding programs, because humans are now constantly looking after the continued existence of the animals.
Underneath we will outline some examples of problems that arise with breeding on special breed characteristics that have unfavourable consequences for dogs:
Breed characteristics: large head in relationship to the body.
Consequences: Chihuahua puppies have to be born through caesareans, because the puppy’s heads are too big for natural birth. There are also instances of open fontanels (“Chihuahua molars”), which is seen as a breed characteristic.
Breed characteristics: short snouts
Consequences: boxers often suffer from respiratory problems because of their “flattened” snouts.
Breed characteristics: long backs
Consequences: dachshunds may develop ruptured spinal discs due to their long backs, leading to paralysis and/or chronic pain.
Breed characteristics: sloping backs
Consequences: German shepherds are known for having malformed and stiff hip joints, which may cause chronic pain.
This is just a very small selection of diseases and defects (heart disease, coronary disease, blood disease, endocrine disorders, eye disease, skin disease, nervous system diseases, digestion disorders, joint diseases and immunological diseases) that can be directly related to dog breeding. Constant pain and suffering can be the consequence of deliberately trying to keep and intensify breed characteristics.
When the desired results cannot be obtained (quickly) through breeding, tails are docked and ears are cropped, tied off or snapped, right after birth and without anesthetics. After an earlier ban on the cropping of dog’s ears we now also have a ban on the docking of tails in Holland. It is still allowed to remove the fifth toes (dewclaws) from puppies under four days without anesthetics, because it is assumed that their nervous system is not fully developed and they can’t feel pain yet. Fortunately, a new resolution for cats and dogs was put in place in the Netherlands since 1st January 1999 that should improve animal welfare in breeders. This is an indication that not all breeders care alike about animal welfare. Keeping breed characteristics is their first priority, optimal health takes second place.
This is done to animals because people think that dogs with a certain appearance look sweet, nice or beautiful. Almost every dog breed suffers ill effects from breeding. Please note: everyone who buys a dog like that is helping to maintain these breeding practices. As long as there is a demand, there will be a supply.
Do you think that we have the right to do this to animals?
Unfortunately, these are not the only drawbacks for dogs.