Inbreeding among dogs creates health risks

by: SERGIO MADRID/Staff Writer 

Cute, cuddly, and sometimes ugly.

Dogs have been a part of man’s domesticated life for more than 100,000 years. There is no telling exactly what canid species the dog evolved from. Nonetheless, they are an intricate part of human life, and for good reason.

For many decades, the dog has been bred to perform multiple tasks. Depending on the breed, they can hear and smell exceptionally well to help track down game, big or small. Some can swim for long periods of time and even haul materials or people.

Though breeding was and still is a bright idea, in terms of the usage of a remarkable animal, problems have arose throughout its process that do not seem to be getting the proper attention or action. In other words, no one is doing anything about.

Since the practice of selective breeding began, kennel clubs have bred dogs with their parents and siblings. This has allowed these amazing breeds to become inbred. You may think dogs are just animals, so it shouldn’t matter. Think again, because humans are also animals.

The process of inbreeding is very much a problem, as it causes a number of different health risks. The golden retriever suffers from hip dysplasia, and most die from cancer. The bulldog, once strong and valiant looking, cannot breathe properly after a century of inbreeding. The look on their face says it all.

The term “purebred” was a product of 19th century wealthy Europeans who engaged in eugenics, which meant that they would manipulate a dog’s genetics for a specific look or attribute. Afterwards, they would declare it a so called “purebred.”

Old English Bulldog 2

Once again, I want to point out that I actually do not disagree with the practice of selective breeding. Only when the practice becomes inbreeding do I have a problem with it.

All the health issues these dogs face could be fixed if kennel clubs were not so stubborn and allowed the dogs to cross breed, or even made better efforts to avoid inbreeding. But that won’t ever happen, because the breeds may not look like those everyone knows and loves.

The funny thing about this matter is that the “mutt” is a dog in a natural, and more often than not, healthy form. The idea that a purebred is better is absurd when you consider the mutt is just as intelligent, if not more, and is almost always healthier.

So maybe the mutt may not have the look that people look for in purebred dogs. But the mutt comes with the assurance of health, and as that purebred gets older, it may not look the same in six years, if the dog even lasts that long. The point is, support your local shelter.

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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