||[Jan. 28th, 2008|04:35 pm]
Normally I love Cute Overload but this pisses me off|
"Brandy weighs only 2lbs and cannot even BARK as her lungs are too small."
"With a dog like this you have to be careful. She can’t even jump on or off anything because her legs are so tiny."
I suppose it's good that she's got a caring owner rather than being put down or something but it brings back a subject I feel very strongly about, and that is the breeding of these "toy" dogs.
First of all I'm angry about the idea that humans bred a toy dog breed that was able to get so small it can't use it's lungs to make noise and it's legs won't stand up to any jumping.
Now, I know that they didn't breed this particular dog to be so tiny, it was a genetic quirk. I just find the breeding of these tiny toy dogs to be a bit sick, really.
Pekinese always have nasal/breathing problems but the short, stubby nose is part of the reason people like them. Yes other, bigger breeds of dog have physical problems as a result of the breeding (for example I understand that Alsatians, probably my favourite breed of dog, suffer from pelvic problems).
The difference, to me, is that alsatians weren't deliberately bred to have pelvic problems although, yeah, I'm not happy about it, because I think once we take on the responsibility for influencing a species' development (and with dogs it almost always seems to be removing something from the nature of the animal) we have a responsibility to ensure we don't cause suffering to the results of our eugenic endeavours.
From a purely personal preference PoV, there's a huge difference, looking into an Alsatian's eyes compared to, say, a toy poodle and I think this is why I can be OK with the breeding, over thousands of years, of breeds such as the Labby or Border Collie and be so against the smaller breeds.
I think it's a matter of degrees of seperation. Bear in mind all these guys started off as true canines, and I know it's been going on for thousands of years but I look at an Alsatian or a labby or even a spaniel and I see a dog. I see canine intelligence, canine behaviour.
As you go to the smaller breeds, bred exclusively to be small, cute and convenient, well, they seem to cease being dogs at all as if the ancestral genetic ties have worn so thin they have no "identity" for want of a better word.
I'm no animal psychologist, but I think dogs need a role, a job of some sort as part of the "pack" and when your job is to look cute and match the new rug it has to be bad for the animal. To me, this makes the continued breeding of these animals, bred *because* of these problems, selfish, immoral and unjustifiable.