100 Years of Breed “Improvement”

very thought provoking… in their quest for perfection, mankind has fiddled with many animals, in the case of dogs leading to deformities, congenital defects and an ever shrinking gene pool. Some breeds are basically diverted into two lines: show lines (with often exaggerated features causing heriditary diseases and physical discomfort) on the one side, working lines (often closer to the breed as it was, say, 100 years ago) on the other side.

Science and Dogs

For the sake of honest disclosure, I will admit to owning “purebreds” (the ‘pureness’ of purebreeds is a discussion for another time) but I also have mutts. All the dogs I’ve had since childhood had a few things in common, they were friendly, prey driven, ball-crazy, intense, motivated, athletic (crazy dogs are easier to train) and none had intentionally bred defects. I would never buy/adopt a dog whose breed characteristics exacted a health burden.(Asher 2009). That just incentivizes people to breed more of these intentionally unhealthy animals.

The dogs on the left are from  the 1915 book, ‘Breeds of All Nations by W.E. Mason. The examples on the right are modern examples from multiple sources. To be able to make an honest comparison, I’ve chosen pictures with similar poses and in a couple of cases flipped the picture to get them both aligned in the same direction. I…

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