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:
#3. Bubble Eye Goldfish
Is it just us, or are those veins deeply unsettling?
It took years of careful study, selective breeding and painstaking genetic experimentation ... to craft the stupidest-looking fish in the world.
And it's not just looks: Bubble eye goldfish really are every bit as "special" as they appear. They're an infamously fragile breed, even in closely monitored aquariums. Other fish pick on them, anything remotely sharp is a popping hazard for those bloated sacs, and while they're obviously not going to shakily float away from any predators with a pair of pool floaties for a face, even when left completely alone they are "notorious for getting caught in the water uptake valves of aquarium filters."
It's actually not stupid at all; it just knows that it should not be.
But hey, it's all worth it, because there's no other fish on the planet that looks like it doesn't realize it can swim -- all just panicking down there beneath the water, frantically holding its breath like a Looney Tunes character.
Although Looney Tunes characters have much more realistic physiology.
#2. Korean Mastiffs (Mee Kyun Dosa)
Koreans are downright crazy when it comes to dogs. Don't worry, we're not going to make any tasteless, hackish jokes about eating them -- we're merely referring to the fact that, while other countries are breeding for qualities like "loyalty" and "poise," the Koreans breed dogs for their ghostbusting abilities, like the sapsali, or their ability to not have faces, like the Korean mastiff.
Also called mee kyun dosa, this dog's special breed attributes are its gentleness, severe cuddliness and occasionally out-of-control wuddliness. Also, something every breed page seems to emphasize is that they are "very inclined to be lazy."
Red Dragon Kennel
Mee kyun dosa are currently the heaviest dog in South Korea, maxing out at a ponderous 185 pounds. And since most people think big dogs = scary dogs, and idiocy is not a culture flaw exclusive to the West, Koreans commonly use them as guard dogs. A job they are obviously terrible at, due to the aforementioned laziness, gentleness and fingernail-sized field of vision afforded by those jiggly fat-curtains the selective breeders installed on their heads.
But honestly, who cares? Look how cutely tubby and sad-looking he is! He's a gentle, giant, lazy, fat, fat bastard of a dog. If that sucker doesn't already have a weekly comic strip entertaining children all over the world with his slacker adventures, we call dibs on starting one right now: His name shall be Morly, and his best friend shall be an anthropomorphic bed.
God, we are going to make billions.
#1. Pigeon Variants
Man has kept pigeons for 10,000 years, which is plenty of time to get bored with the very concept of an animal and start trying to make the ugly ones bone to see how funny-looking their kids will turn out. Here are some of the results:
There's nothing worse than klansbirds.
No, the above photograph isn't a lucky snapshot of a bird's head exploding out of pure confusion -- it's actually the Jacobin pigeon. And it's not a fluke or a weird angle: The entire breed looks like somebody sewed a feather duster onto a bird body, all the time.
Those are frillback pigeons, easily the most mocked pigeons in Pigeon High School. They enjoy spending time alone in their room, pretending to understand archaic English philosophy and the musical stylings of Morrissey.
These are not the result of a horrible avian disease, nor the aftermath of a bird sneezing so hard that its brains exploded through its nose. These are English barb pigeons, so named because they are believed to have originally come from the Barbary Coast of Africa, not because it was God's cruelest barb to build a bird with its head inside-out.
And then there are these guys:
That's a goiter, right?
Reversewing pouter pigeons, who have a big, awkward mass of random feathers instead of legs. Oh, not literally, of course -- the legs are still under there, and they can walk on them and everything. It just looks really stupid when they do so, because, thanks to the miracle of selective breeding, the entire species is permanently getting out of the pool with their swim fins still on.
For odd pairings in the animal kingdom, check out 10 Animals You Won't Believe Are Closely Related. Or learn about how else we've fucked around with animals in 7 Insane Military Attempts To Weaponize Animals.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The Truth About Ambition.