Columns: No Margins, No Limits, No Kidding!
Before buying a purebred puppy, you should know about breed standards that don't allow a dog to walk, breathe, see, breed or whelp naturally.
August 2021 update
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
In June of 2009 we noted that political groups control European dog breeders as evidenced by The Kennel Club's “Health Of Pedigreed Dogs” mandate against deformed dogs. This was the result of an "animal rights" inspired BBC broadcast which alluded to rampant dog deformities in purebred dogs.
The Kennel Club (TKC) countered with an educational project to lead/force breeders away from producing dogs with health deformities. The Accredited Breeder Scheme became law and all breeders “who are not part of the scheme” will be “unable to produce or sell puppies within the law.” TKC is the only Registry in England and all breeding stock must be registered with TKC. Will this improve canine health and eventually eliminate dog disease caused by physical deformities?
Perhaps. The Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association have become business partners the result of which is: breeding dogs must have eyes annually certified. Hips and elbows need be x-rayed only once even though hip dysplasia often becomes evident after 12 months. The OFA finally changed age requirements as a result of constant badgering by this writer and for the same reason, finally decided to certify elbows. The BVA and OFA helped reduce dog deformities and protect canine health.
Practically speaking, Brits have one car maker which they are required to take to the dealership (TKC) for annual maintenance checks. The new scheme isn't new, inside sources tell us this has been in the works for quite some time. The fact is, The Kennel Club has seen the Animal Rights assault coming, whereas we in this country continue to make blinders part of our fashion wardrobe.
Will regimentation change fashion change our breed standards? Is this the course the American Kennel Club is on? Will the AKC stand with breeders who seek to breed away from the un-healthy, un-sound "type" that often distinguishes "Breed Type" in the show ring?
Will judges select for health over type when breed exaggerations and related deformities impact the dog's daily life?
England is America’s “mother country” and in fact, the United Kingdom is why there is a United States Of America. We left England to seek personal freedom. Do we give it up to the Animal Rights groups that advocate for government intrusion into our personal choices regarding what breed we can own, and would require spay and neuter (which is proven to adversely affect canine health)? The animal rights people are not whackos, they are political opponents. They have successfully backed legislation limiting where we can have dogs, what breeds, how many, and at what cost-per-dog.
THAT has nothing to do with canine health or preventing the ravages of breeding for exaggerated breed characteristics. What determines proper "breed type" is what wins in the show ring.
Meg Purnell Carpenter is The Kennel Club (England) Vice Chairman, TKC Breed Standards Committee chair and my close friend for over three decades. Breeders are expected to breed dogs that fit their respective breed standards.
Problem is, those Breed Standards were written before anyone could see the future and the extent to which fashion and "type" extremes would lead to such horrid canine deformities. Teacup Chihuahuas? Sure, forget about eyes, ears, and expression but dilute the color into a genetic disaster - anything for a sale.
Dog breeders are squeezed by Breed Standards that leave room for grotesque exaggerations in brachycephalic breeds, shrunken toy breeds, unmanageable coats and crippling characteristics.
Show breeders strive to catch the judge's eye or attract buyers by exhibiting extremes of breed type. If a short nose is best, then a shorter nose would be better. If short leg-to-body ratio is a breed characteristic, we make them look like caterpillars! Heavy bone? So what if it moves like a rhinoceros?
Purebred dog breeders are at a crossroads. It is inhumane to breed deformed dogs; dogs that can’t see, run across the yard, mate, or whelp naturally. Is the only answer to protecting canine health government intervention?
The free market should determine the lengths to which breeders can destroy a breed but without public education by UKC and AKC, purebred dogs will continue to drift towards ever more physical deformities and exaggerations.
If the dog registries and the breed clubs were to engage in true “breed education”, the demand for health-compromised and deformed dogs would diminish in direct proportion to the seriousness of the deformities. Education and honesty could solve the problem within three generations.
No good breeder wants to see a dog suffer or sell a dog that could generate complaints and civil action. So I ask you, is protecting canine health compatible with American freedom of choice? Of course it is, if public pressure and common sense prevail and American breeders choose not to produce deformed dogs with inbred genetic health problems.
estb. 1998 Copyright ? TheDogPress.com 2009 151017122107 https://www.thedogpress.com/Columns/Deformed-dogs_Andrews-096.asp
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