It's common knowledge that, through selective breeding, humanity can artificially encourage certain traits in animals and plants over very long periods of time. What is less common knowledge is that there are absolutely no qualifications needed to start screwin' with the very foundation of an entire species, and the chief motivator for many selective breeders is apparently "I thought it would be funny."
#6. Munchkin Cats
Meet the feline equivalent of Hank Hill's dad.
Cats are synonymous with agility and skill. Wiener dogs are ... not so much that. So cat breeders, in an attempt to create something unique (or perhaps just to spite the species that's been pooping in their laundry room for the last several millenniums), decided to take advantage of a naturally occurring abnormality and breed themselves an anti-cat.
One that was permanently crouching, for some reason.
The genetic anomaly that causes adorable stump legs in felines is nothing new. It's been reported since the 1930s, when they were called Stalingrad kangaroo cats (due to their uncanny resemblance to some sort of communist marsupial, we assume). However, it wasn't until 1983 that someone decided that cats were great and all, but they were just about 4 inches too tall. Since then, Munchkin cats have been officially accepted as a new breed by the International Cat Association.
But it's not all about watching your cat hilariously fail to make the jumps that hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have promised him he could make -- Munchkin cats have their own advantages. TICA points out that these cats "have lots of energy and great cornering speed." So if you've ever wanted to start an all-feline Tokyo drifting league but have always been thwarted by nature's crazy, stubborn insistence on normal-shaped animals, you're in luck!
There's nothing as important as cornering speed in a house pet.
#5. Blood Parrot Cichlids
The Aquarium Wiki
Apparently "the rainbow" tastes like high tide.
Developed in Taiwan specifically for the demanding 1980s pet market, which, much like the 1980s music market, valued nothing so much as ostentatious colors and genetic abominations, blood parrot cichlids are an unfortunate breed. They possess a slew of abnormalities, like a deformed mouth that interferes with chewing food, a malformed spine and swim bladder disorders. But so what if your fish can't eat, swim or exist properly -- it looks like somebody spilled a pack of Skittles in the aquarium! And as if urinating right down the helix of DNA itself wasn't enough, the fish are also routinely tattooed with special messages:
Modern Pet Centre
Where's the one that hearts NY?
And yes, those lips are tattooed to look like fish lipstick. Which really just goes to show: You can teach somebody how to meddle with the very structure of life itself, but there's just no teaching class.
#4. The Puli
Breeders have created a few low-maintenance, non-shedding dogs that even people with allergies can own. But is that really the right kind of dog for you? What if you're looking for a challenge? What if you believe that the only way to defeat allergies is to cram dog hair down their stupid histamic throats until they choke on it? And what if your dog looked constantly, hilariously high while you're at it? Well, reader with strangely specific pet-owning priorities, perhaps the puli is your ideal companion.
It is an ancient breed, created by Hungarians over 1,000 years ago for use as bear alarms, back when animals had the most ridiculously specific jobs this side of a Flintstones episode. The dreadlocks pattern was mostly bred in for weather resistance, but the American Kennel Club points out that "thorough drying after bath time is especially important to prevent mildewed cords." So if you've got a weird place in your heart for unemployed Jamaican caricatures and the stink of old mops, you might find a friend in the puli. But it's not all negative! Pulis are a surprisingly agile and acrobatic breed, which is great because it looks like an epic dog explosion every time it jumps: