Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Breeding Dogs for Sickness and Early Death

"The rarest 50 AKC Breeds total just 3 out of every 2,000 U.S. dogs."

If you compare the UK Kennel Club's
2004 breed health survey with their 2014 survey, you find that the deleterious effects of inbreeding and selection for defect continue unabated.

As Jemima Harrison notes over on her blog

Across all the breeds, median longevity has dropped by 11 per cent in a decade. Kennel Club registered dogs now live on average to just 10 years old - down from 11yrs 3 months in 2004.

Terrier breeds with special tumbles on health
include Bull Terriers, which now die at age 7 instead of 10, and Border Terriers which now die at age 12 instead of 14.

The Labrador, America's favorite dog, is now dead at age 11 years in the UK, as compared to 12 years and 3 months in 2004.

To be honest, within individual breeds, sample size is small, and reporting variances can move a number.

That said, when looked at across ALL breeds, it is very clear that the Kennel Club has woven the basket that makes "basket case" dogs.

Breed-blind show idiots will protest as they always do.  Let me see if we can get out in front of that and summarize their position:

I love my doggies, and you are being MEAN by asking questions based on "data" which I am sure is totally biased, or maybe a complete lie put together by "AR" people who hate doggies and are trying to force us to eat wood chips. Doggies forever and ever!!

Dysplasia is not a problem, but a FEATURE, as so many people are old now, and crippled dogs cannot move fast or pull down their crippled owners as easily since it is CRUEL to train doggies. Same with Bulldogs for people with that awful cellulite and diabetes virus. Doggies have to change with the times, and you are wrong, mean, and probably a liberal for even asking about canine health. Doggies forever!!!

Doggie training is cruel, because if you train a dog to obey, you are going to be mean and then you are NOT a doggie lover, but a fascist worse than Hitler.

Why do you admire Hitler?

Why do you hate doggies?

Why do you want to force everyone to eat wood chips?

Does that about cover it?

Ah well, carry on! 

The American Kennel Club continues to tumble down the rat hole, with a 75% decline in total canine registrations over the last 35 years.

In fact, AKC dogs now represent less than 12 percent of all the dogs in the U.S., and that number is continuing to decline as Americans are acquiring more dogs than ever.

More than half of all AKC dogs are in the top 10 breeds, with the bottom 50 breeds summing to 1.2 percent of all AKC-registered dogs (which is only 12 percent of all dogs) .

|To put it another way, the rarest 50 AKC Breeds total just 3 out of every 2,000 U.S. dogs.


Mary Pang said...

How about a button to express how sad and infuriating this is? I can't think what to call it though. 'interesting' doesn't quite hit the spot.

Amy Nexus said...

"Hybrid vigor" is a thing and it's not just for plants.

Thank you for another excellent post on the AKC and the health of dogs. It's truly a very sad state that AKC dogs' life spans are declining. This in a day and age when we have reliable testing for several major diseases that could begin to be brought under control through appropriate genetic testing and breeding. As one of the few nationally recognized organizations involved with dog breeding, they could do so much more. Testing for some well-known health problems could be required for registry rather than a suggestion. I'm talking about an organization that kowtows to puppy mills, so what am I thinking?! They have been so detrimental to the health of dogs that I refuse to support them in any way. They've recently opened some competitions up to "All American Dogs" aka mutts and I certainly won't be entering my AADs in any of them. They're trying to remain relevant, too little too late.

Quite honestly, lifespan is not often a consideration for those who breed for conformation (show) only. Some breeders barely track it if they do at all. I know one who was recently shocked to find that most of their lines were becoming riddled with cancer and dying young...when told this news by a prospective puppy buyer who had done much research. But the rosettes were won, so...

There has been quite an increase in canine cancer recently across the board. Has anyone come across decent research into why this is happening?

Patricia Cooper said...

There is no room for argument on hybridization and it's benefits. Before I would go about naming purebred dogs,or breeders associations, as the culprit for declining lifespans I tend to look at the evidence I see every day!
My personal observation is that for the most part owners are to blame. Fat dogs are common, morbidly obese dogs are not rare.
Years ago, I had the temerity to suggest to an owner of a Black Lab that her dog was too fat and she surprised me by invoking owner privilege: "It's my dog and I can do as I wish!" That dog is still fat and still alive, it cannot get into her van without the aid of a ramp and has to be wheeled around the park on a red wagon. Bizarre.
It is not unusual to see dogs with claws grown out so far that they fold sideways as they walk. The normal course of events for a dog's toenails is to be WORN off running, turning, digging, playing with other canine friends or chasing prey.
Leash laws are another culprit in early dog deaths.
Raise your hand if you think a Vizsla or Golden Retriever (or a Terrier of any stripe)is getting any meaningful exercise by being lead around on a leash at half its normal walking speed.
Over eating, no exercise, no mental tasks, or jobs is a combination that might make any dog crave an early grave!
So, do purebred dogs have illnesses that are "breed specific" of course.
The giveback is that if one acquires a purebred one has a very good idea of its behavior in adulthood as well as what it will look like, it's likely exercise requirements, its tendency toward digging, barking, it's likely attitude when meeting new people and dogs, it's train-ability and temperament etc etc etc.
I believe the AKC will survive, and I do not believe they are the enemy, it's the owners! Larry Cooper Columbus Ohio

PBurns said...

Agreed. I've written extensively on all these problems multiple time. See for one post that covers them all.

I've seen too much variation within breeds to believe you can know much more than size and coat type if all you are doing is selecting a breed and are unaware of the real two and three-generation personalities of each dog. Even then, you are only winnowing the odds. Every dog is an individual, and the mix of sire and dam results in a LOT or variation even within a litter.