A Shocking Revelation: Pedigree Breeds

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Throughout the years, associations like the Kennel Club have hosted a variety of dog shows. Bulldogs, Ridgebacks, Dalmatians and other breeds gather at different shows each calendar year and compete in various events, like agility, training, and the prestigious “Best in Show”. These breeds do share one common trait, despite their differentiation in size, color, and shape: they are all purebred.

As defined by the American Kennel Club:

 “Purebred means that the sire and dam of a dog are members of a recognized breed and that the ancestry of a dog consists of the same breed over many generations.”

One documentary chose to explore this definition of “purebred” and found that there was much more to it than simple ancestry.

In 2008, BBC ONE aired a one-hour special called “Pedigree Dogs Exposed,” where owners, breeders, and esteemed members of the UK Kennel Club spoke about the positives and negatives of owning a pedigree dog. They discovered that many of the dogs that are being bred in this manner are passing down horrific genetic diseases that have the potential to do massive damage to a dog’s nervous and skeletal systems.

One of the worst exposed was the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. In most instances of the purebred spaniel, Syringomyelia was found to be prominent in the breed starting as early as five years old. This causes a cyst to form within the spinal cord and begins to destroy a portion of it  as it expands. The symptoms displayed in the breed include debilitating migraines, phantom scratching, scoliosis, or in more serious cases, paralysis.

The major problem within pedigree dogs is not just genetic diseases. The most shocking revelation of the breeds within the pedigree certification is that they are almost always inbred. Dogs are so often inbred that the majority of the health problems stem from previous generations on the ancestral line.

Even if the dogs are of purebred status, there is another devastating fact that cannot be avoided. Despite their nature, puppies, especially if they are Ridgeback breed, are being culled, or put to sleep, over their “imperfect” traits. One of the most common justifications for this terrible practice  is attributed with Ridgeback breeders. A breeder claimed in the BBC ONE documentary that if “the puppy is born without a ridge, then it isn’t a Ridgeback.” However, the documentary exposed a problem with this attitude, explaining that the ridge is not a necessary trait for the dog’s classification.

Most of the breeds showed a dramatic difference between how they originally looked, against the appearance of the breed  today. Skulls have changed shape as have legs, spines, and muzzles, especially that of a Pug. Because of this particular genetic mutation, most Pugs have difficulty breathing, common eye injuries, and under-eye folds.

You, as a potential owner, can learn more information about pedigree dogs at http://www.akc.org or educate yourself by talking to a pet expert on the benefits of adopting a dog.

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