Monday, 25 August 2008

My little wolf

The past week has had quite a few dog related shows on. Well, except for the obvious Dog Whisperer and dog rescue type stuff on Animal Planet like I like to watch. First, last monday, there was a programme on bbc 1 called Pedigree Dogs Exposed. It was about how many pedigree dogs suffer from painful genetic diseases because of the way humans breed them so unnaturally. There is also a news article about it here. The case of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels was one of the most disturbing.

Firstly they are at very high risk of heart disease because of their inbred ancestry. They think this is because one male stud with a heart disease was seen as 'the best' and probably shown in lots of shows and then sired lots of puppies who then developed the same problems.The most disturbing problem is syringomyelia, which is because the dogs have been bred to have small skulls, yet their brains are too big for their heads. On the documentary there was footage of some KC's with this problem and it was so sad to watch. It affects their nervous system and causes immense pain for them.

On the programme, there was an interview with a woman whose dog had just won Best In Show in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel annual show, and he had syringomyelia. The breeder was aware of this and how it is passed on automatically to the puppies of any dog with it, yet had bred 24 litters from her dog since he was diagnosed with it. It shocked me so much how she could knowingly breed dogs that would die in pain in such a horrible way.

Breeders no longer breed for the healthiest or best hunter, but simply for the best looking dogs, the ones who comply to the 'breed standards'. Personally, I think the idea of breed standards can be a bit ridiculous really. Pepe is a Yorkshire Terrier yet he is nowhere near the breed standard. He is too big, too grey, his ears are too floppy and his snout isn't long enough. Yet he is still the perfect yorkie to me.

I have been calling him affectionately 'my little wolf' since watching 'Martin Clunes: A man and his dogs' last night. The programme went back to the origins of dogs and reminded us all that we are sharing our homes with wild dogs. He went searching for wolves in America and then found wild dingoes in Australia. The cutest were the Jack Russels who were stil being used as ratters. They went chasing after the rats and killed them and shook them, just like Pepe does with his toys! Apparently terriers are bred killers and will kill anything infront of them, even if they're not hungry. I don't think Pepe is a true terrier then, he has had close encounters with frogs and birds and stuff but has never killed anything!

1 comment:

  1. hehe, us in the cavalier circles secretly hate that lady who won the best in show - there are strong rumours of her 'persuading' the judges with £££.
    i'm sceptical about the brain-skull disease though. for something that is so supposedly wide-spread, the breeder i work for nor any of her cavalier breeding friends had ever experienced it. we have recently found out that our Nina has the typical heart problems, although she's otherwise her normal self.
    anyway, i came on here to nag at you to come back to livejournal young lady! some of us aren't up with the whole trendy blogging thing yet ;)
    suze/bronzemedal xx

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