Without the interference of man, dogs reproduce offspring whose characteristics are determined by natural selection. Mating selected dogs with the aim of maintaining or producing specific qualities and characteristics has long been practised. Selective breeding has a place in the history of man and his relationship with his canine friend. By breeding useful dogs and killing the wild ones, man has been developing certain types of dogs since pre-historic times.
Good Breeding Practice
Nowadays, the Kennel Club promotes good breeding practice and encourages prospective breeders to have their bitches checked with veterinary surgeons. Whereas reputable dog breeders need to have a good knowledge of the science of generics, many animal rights people see breeders who breed dogs as unethical.
For many dogs, selective breeding for cuteness or conformity to a certain breed standard is seriously affecting their quality of life. The state of a pedigree dog's health and life expectancy is being compromised by man's desire for pure race of dog. With high incidences of congenital deformity and hereditary diseases, the wish for purity of blood lines could become a generic disaster.
Some argue that a crossbred dog is a healthier option because there is little chance of inbreeding. Many consider breeders encourage inbreeding, which can increase the chances of hereditary diseases and can compromise a dog's immune system. Inbreeding can also lead to a bitch's decreased fertility or her giving birth to smaller litters.
Breed Clubs have often done extensive studies on the common genetic defect of their particular breed. Some breeds of dogs are particularly at risk from being genetically compromised. The pekinese, a Chinese breed of small dog introduced into Europe in 1860 with its long silky coat and pug nose, is a cute dog. Nobody wishes to see breeds of dogs die out but most agree that health must come before type.The friendly Cavalier King Charles spaniel are prone to heart murmurs and neck pain which may need ongoing treatment and sadly can prove fatal. The bulldog, once used in bull-baiting, with its square jaw and powerful grip, is another breed of dog at risk. Innate health problems are also associated with pugs with their flattened faces and tiny noses which cause breathing problems and bulging eyes which are susceptible to infections.
Choosing the Breed
For potential owners, it is essential to do your homework about the breed so that you are aware how best to care for your new puppy. Acquaintance with the breed's possible heath problems is essential. By choosing a crossbreed, the demand for a healthier pet is the message being given to breeders.