Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Designer Dog Types vs. Purebred Dogs

I am against the way we are currently breeding dogs. We are using obsolete ways of perpetuating dog breeds, breeding relatives to relatives, and it is destroying the domestic dog. Domestic dogs are getting sicker by the generation.

We need to go back to breeding dogs the way they were before we had dog shows. What we see today isn't the way these breeds were created. We have taken perfectly good dog types, made them into breeds, and then through inbreeding slowly wrecked them. That is inhumane and unsustainable. It is impossible to keep doing what we are doing. Even if we wanted to, we can't. Inbreeding wrecks a species. We can't change that. So, we have to change. Nature is overriding our ability to keep purebreeding dogs.

In the old days, dogs were bred for a purpose. The breeds we know developed over time for those purposes. Pure breeding, as we know it today, where you have to select a relative of that dog and breed them together, is wrecking all our dogs. Inbreeding is inherently dangerous. So, I propose a new way of dog breeding, the way it used to be done.

Let's start with a modern example. The Belgian Malinois. There are really two types. The first is the recognized pure bred Belgian Malinois, bred the way we normally breed purebreds. Then, there is another type. These dogs are mixes of the best working dogs bred to the best working dogs. They have Boxer, pit bull, Schnauzer, Great Dane, Malinois, German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd, and so forth mixed in. The dog looks similar to a purebred Malinois, because there is a predominance of herding breeds involved, but are different in one major respect... they are better working dogs. If I was to get a Belgian Malinois, I would get one of the latter type. They are bigger, stronger, tougher, and more capable.

I think similarly, we need to create an entirely new, parallel breeding system. New breed types need to be created based upon function, not based upon whether the dogs are inbred to their relatives. Thus...

We would still breed certain classes of dogs (using the FCI categories):

Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)

Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid Breeds - Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs

Group 3: Terriers

Group 4: Dachshunds

Group 5: Spitz and Primitive types

Group 6: Scenthounds and Related Breeds

Group 7: Pointing Dogs

Group 8: Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs

Group 9: Companion and Toy Dogs

Group 10: Sighthounds

So, we would still have Terriers, for example. But, we'd create classes, such as Small, Medium, and Large. They'd still be wire haired or smooth coated. They would still be game, independent, people friendly, spirited, working dogs. We'd have Pointers. A smooth coated and a wire coated. We'd have Dachshunds, but we'd eliminate the mutation that makes them have abnormally short legs, the dog would be more compact, and come in a smooth, wirehaired, and rough coated version. There would still be Herding dogs, some for sheep, some for cattle. Some for police work. With a variety of coats. And so forth. So, we'd breed for a type, with a definition of what that ideal type would be in terms of height, weight, health, working ability, and temperament. And any dog could be bred to any dog to create that ideal type. By doing so, we would get rid of the deformities that have been introduced and calcified into our pure breds, and eliminate most or all of the problems.

I could still get a friendly Retriever as a family pet. Or, I could still get a Toy companion dog. It would just have a different name, look different than what we have today, and it would be a better, healthier dog.

Then, we'd slowly merge all those purebreds we have into these new designer dog types. They wouldn't be considered "breeds" any more. They would be what dogs used to be, and look the way true dogs used to look like 150 years ago. And they wouldn't go extinct.

We are going to have to let go of what we have been doing. It has resulted in a train wreck for our dogs, and for their owners. There is no other way. We have to go back to the past, and breed dogs the way they used to be bred. We need to design new dog "breeds", but they will now be types, not pure breeds. We need to get rid of that concept if we love dogs.

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