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Pedigree Breeding Essay

1275 words - 5 pages

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the trend of increased health problems in the modern canine being caused by inappropriate breeding practices.
Definition of Terms:
COI- Shows the relationship between two purebreds found by the formula:
Fx = Sum[(½)n1 + n2 + 1(1 + FA)] (“About Inbreeding”).
Dystocia- Painful and troubled labor (“Dystocia Definition”).
Elbow Dysplasia (ED)- Painful disorder in the elbow joint caused by improper bone growth (Maki).
Exophtalmosis- A condition in which the eye comes out of the socket (“Exothalmos”).
Hip Dysplasia (HD)- A loosely fitting hip joint, over time weakening the hip bone as a result of insufficient weight bearing (Maki).
Introduction
Over the latter part of human history, man-kind has had a dramatic effect on the canine genome, using inappropriate breeding practices to achieve great changes in physical appearance while negatively impacting canine health (Arman). Because pedigree standards instituted by kennel clubs historically focused on appearance rather than behavioral or internal health, many breeders today incorporate breeding practices such as inbreeding and line-breeding to achieve an ideal pedigree (Maki). However, these breeding practices produce negative results by increasing the frequency of genetic disorders and decreasing the size of gene pools (“Animal Welfare”). Sensory, joint, and heart disorders have now become a mainstay amongst dog breeds (Bjornerfeldt). Because many breeds have characteristics that are in themselves unnatural and unhealthy for the individual dog, veterinarians must intervene to maintain decent health. Every generation these characteristics become more deeply in coded in the canine genome, perpetuating significant complications in the dog population (“A New Direction”). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the increase in canine health disorders being caused by dog breeding standards and practices.
Background
The dog is believed to have become a domesticated species over 5,000 years ago (Bjornerfeldt). New evidence indicates that dogs most likely developed naturally from wolves scavenging through dumps around early settlements; the early canines that were most comfortable being near humans had a better chance of getting food scraps and surviving (Bateson). After dogs became comfortable with humans they were bred to help with hunting and herding (McGreevy).
Scientists now suggest that the transition from wild to tame happened relatively quickly; researchers in Siberia bred foxes in a closed population for specific traits, by the sixth generation the foxes behaved and appeared more dog-like. As time progressed, humans also bred dogs for pointing, scenting, speed, and bulk strength (Bateson). By the Victorian era, many new typologies had been formed, and rigorously incorporated into new breeds. Driving the popularity of new breeds at the newly created dog shows (the first being held in 1859), extreme typologies were praised by...

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