Your Purebred Is Inbred: 5 Realities Of Dog Breeding
Slowly domesticating wolves into good old Fido had been one of the best things that mankind has ever done, right up until we refused to stop fucking with the canine formula. Instead, we started breeding pooches to more and more precise specifications ("the ears must be 1-inch smaller," "the face must be 20 percent droopier"), and only then did we finally stop and say: "There! We're done! This is how all dogs should look like from now on!"
That's, more or less, the origin of purebred dogs, a noble idea that has gone horribly wrong in recent years, at least according to Gabriella Kuhn, who breeds Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and who told us that ...
The Actual Breeding Can Be A Weird, Horrifying Experience
At the most basic level, breeding is just pairing a bitch with a sire -- you would think you'd just have to let nature take its course after that. But, there's a lot more that goes into the process with purebred dogs, such as making sure the girl does not rip the guy's dick off. "One large kennel I know about had a person whose job was all about the dogs breeding," Ms. Kuhn told us. "He would watch the dogs have sex, [making] sure the dogs don't get out of a tie." A tie, by the horrifying way, is when, after sex, the male dog's swollen member gets stuck in the lady dog. You read that right.
"Many times, [the female] will want to bolt away. If she tries, the male dog can have a severely injured penis," says Gabriella. We'll pause here so you can imagine it. "So, we keep her calmed down and wait the 10 to 15 minutes until he can pull out. One pair we watched had the female suddenly sprint with the hapless male behind her. We were honestly afraid [his penis] might be ripped out and, since then, we have taken to putting both on leashes so that never happens again."
Representing one of the few times where BDSM increases sexual safety.
It can get equally awkward with animals that refuse to have sex, though. "There was a spaniel about 10 years ago that was one of the best around and that made it to some prestigious national competitions," M. Kuhn explains. "He also had a rare color pattern, so the breeder got a lot of calls for breeding matches. But then, they found out something the first mating out -- he was gay." No matter what they did to entice him [the details of which are probably best left to the imagination], he would only stick by a few of the other males in the kennel and, despite his excellent background and genes (and the owner not being a supporter of artificial insemination), never bred. "I should clarify: never bred with a female."
Inbreeding Is Surprisingly Common Among Purebred Dogs
Responsible breeders look at the lineage of each dog and, especially in the cases of rarer breeds, will make sure that there isn't a close relation between the bitch and sire. But, some unscrupulous breeders want a certain color or look, and the only way to get it is some good old-fashioned doggy incest. According to Gabriella: "Some colors are so rare that breeding with one dog may only have one or two pups out of the litter having that color. By breeding with a relative with the same genes, the odds of that rare color are increased." Consult this Game Of Thrones scene for further reference.
A Labrador always pays its debts.
Now, it's worth mentioning that the American Kennel Club (AKC) is firmly against inbreeding of the mother-son or father-daughter variety, but they are fine with, say, grandparents and grandchildren boning, which they call line breeding and which we call "making a disturbing problem even more disturbing." Sometimes, though, the incest happens by accident. As Gabriella told us: "Brother and sister dogs sometimes go at it. Ninety-nine percent of the time they are caught in time. But, every once in a while, it's too late, and they get a litter. You can take every possible precaution, but if both are outside at the same time and you need to go in to deal with an emergency, it can happen," and when it does happen, the breeders' powers of damage control rival that of Olivia Pope.
Ms. Kuhn explains: "One breeder who came to me had a pretty large looking and obviously pregnant female come in for an impromptu 'session' with one of my males. I didn't question it because we were friends, but it was just done so she could put on papers that the father was the male I had, not the brother of her female who got her pregnant ... because many buyers don't want an inbred dog."
Can't run a show course with crossed-eyes.
There Are Some Cruel And Unusual Rules For Show-Quality Dogs
There are a ton of rules for how a purebred should look to enter a dog show, and, unfortunately, some of those rules boil down to, "Mother Nature screwed up, and it's up to us to fix her mistakes." For example, in nature, Boxers and English Cocker Spaniels have long tails, but their American standards specify that they should have short tails. This is achieved by "tail docking," which is just a nice way of saying that some dog owners cut off parts of their puppies' tails.
"Hey, as long as it's not my balls, I say cut away!"
It's not just a one-off swing of the knife, either. When a puppy is born, its nervous system isn't operating at full strength yet, so you can just purchase tight rubber bands that you wrap around a certain point on the tail, which cuts off blood flow to it, causing the excess tissue to eventually fall off.
And then there's ear cropping, in which ears are cropped (duh) so that they stand at a certain length and so that the dog can stand any chance at placing in a dog show. Ms. Kuhn explains, "One of my show friends decided to try her hand at Dobermans, but didn't crop her dog's ears. She didn't even place and was even told by the judge she better do it or else the dog will get ear infections."
"Making them look like goal posts for a half-year is good for them!"
But, that's the thing -- cropping, docking, and other things done to dogs are usually carried out in the name of health. However, for example, tail docking doesn't improve the dog's health at all. So, why do breeders and showers do it? "Because you can't show them otherwise," Gabriella explains. Hell, despite countries such as Australia and the UK banning tail docking, the American Boxer Club actually thinks that dog owners who don't mutilate their pets' tails should be "severely penalized."
The Real Money Is In Dog Names
According to Ms. Kuhn, the names of purebred dogs are registered with the AKC, which gives you 50 characters to use on the dog's name upon registration. And since the call-name for your dog, such as Max or Lucky, isn't going to take up a lot of room, breeders will use the remaining 40-odd characters as advertisement.
"Come here, Pepsi Presents Max!"
It's not what you think, though. The "advertisement" often comes down to naming a pup after its daddy or momma, especially if the parents were champion dogs. This is the purebred equivalent of calling your kid "MomWentToHarvard," and it increases a puppy's value thousandfold. Some breeders can charge up to $100,000 for their champion purebred to do it doggy style and produce a legacy litter of puppies that are way more likely to win a dog show and then become high-end studs themselves -- like a perpetual money-making machine fueled by animal sex.
"Some people who show see the same judges a lot, and some judges had a dog they would always favor. So, they pay a lot to have one of their dogs breed with that one. The judge sees the registry, sees who the father was, and may give the dog a better place," Gabriella told us. What she didn't mention, though, is that the name inheritance can be hilarious. Here's Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, offspring of Bling Bling V Tani Kazari. We wish we were making this up:
His son Batman V Superman Kazari is going to bank crazy sponsorship dollars this year.
"I was in the ring once," Gabriella continues. "I was in second, and a person with one of those name recognition dogs was in third. The judge went around, and, when he got to her, he commented how the dog looked like this favorite one he had a few years back. The owner said it was its father, and she ended up moving to first place the next go-round."
That's why no champion title has ever gone to a "Rover" or a "Max," but rather to an animal seemingly named by a stoned hippie commune in Vermont. And if all of this seems like a weird but mostly harmless obsession perpetuated by a few enthusiasts, well ...
Purebred Breeding Harms Most Dogs
Gabriella got into breeding because her parents bred dogs, and she wanted to keep Cavalier King Charles Spaniels going so other people can enjoy them. The problem is that those spaniels, as with every other purebred dog, have very specific features that must be replicated in each litter, which will eventually cause huge health problems for the animals.
"In spaniels, we actually have a growing problem of their heads being too small for their brains. Breeders wanted a small head in proportion to their body because it looked good and helped them hunt, but the price was a disease that affects most spaniels and that destroys the spinal cord. Some of my older spaniels can't even look down anymore because when they do, they yelp out in pain. It hurts me every time this happens because they are part of my family, but what can I do? I love the breed and being a breeder, but I also don't want this to happen to them."
OK, we'll try to make this entry a little less sad by ... wait, is that the type of dog Seymour was?
Also, the breed often cannot focus their eyes because of a condition called exotropia. But, the Cavalier Spaniel is just one example. An increasing number of Dalmatians (around 30 percent) are now born deaf due to breeding bad genes. Bulldogs are even worse as the odds are good that they'll have hip dysplasia. They can't even breed without human intervention, and most births are Cesarean due to the bulldog puppies' fat heads. Golden Retrievers, some of the most lovable pooches in existence, have such messed-up genes that the possibility of them dying from cancer is more than 60 percent. Then, there are German Shepherds, which have a sloping back that causes many skeletal and muscular disorders. Every breed you can think of has at least one breeding-induced trait that causes death or pain of some sort.
It should be noted, though, that most breeders are responsible and give nothing but love to their dogs. It's just that breeding for show quality and purebred status has created a world where each breed can only mate like 19th-century monarchs. These breeds are human inventions, and it's not like we're doing it for the dogs' benefit. We suppose the dogs would get mad at us for that if, you know, we hadn't bred them to like us.
"You have crippled my once proud and powerful species, and one day
you humans will pay for awwwwww yeah, right there."
Evan V. Symon is the interview finder guy at Cracked. Have an awesome experience/job you want to see as an article? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Mistakes Every Dog Owner Makes (An Insider's Perspective) and 6 Things You Learn Training, And Owning, Service Dogs.
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