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Small hound blues


When intelligent design is nuts

From Phys.org:

Lead researcher, Kendy Teng, from the University of Sydney, Australia, said, “Australians are favouring brachycephalic breeds, dogs with shorter and wider heads, such as the Pug and the French bulldog, more than those with longer and thinner heads. Looking at data spanning 28 years, we found that the demand for smaller dogs has increased every year from 1986.”

“Veterinarians are concerned about brachycephalic dogs’ welfare, as these breeds commonly suffer from breathing difficulties, skin and eye conditions, and digestive disorders. In New Zealand, brachycephalic breeds are number four of the top five dog breeds considered by veterinarians to be unsuitable for continued breeding due to compromised health and welfare. We expect to see vets in Australia treating more dogs with the conditions described.”More.

It’ not hard to see what the problem is. People want a dog to be smaller than a cat for lifestyle reasons, but that often doesn’t work out well for the dog.

Forty years ago, I (O’Leary for News) rented out space to a dog groomer, who told me similar stories in lay terms.

One problem she mentioned was risk of injuries due to falls. A dog of natural size probably won’t fall proportionately far in a human environment, because humans construct our environment to minimize proportionate risks. But if the dog is really small, the back of the couch might be a steep drop.

No, it’s not a problem for a cat. A cat might stalk away from falling off the porch roof. But then as Cats points out, a cat is not a dog.

The skinny: “Resizing” animals is fraught with physiological risks, and it is the animal who finds out the hard way.

Unsuited to continued breeding? (interesting photos)

Nice to see vets taking a stand on this. Little dogs are cute, but they are not toys. They can suffer.

See also: Richard Dawkins trying to twist dog breeding into a pro-Darwinism message in the New York Times. Both Dawkins and the Times are now fading brands.


Resurrecting extinct ox by back breeding – how’s that coming? Interestingly, writer Sarah Griffiths is not throwing the word “species” around wildly, as per the usual.

Paper. Open access

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