Health: Breeding for extremes

Last week the Guinness Book of World Records held an event in NYC to show off the world’s newest smallest and largest dog record holders.

“OMG HOW KYOOT!” and “CUTENESS OVERLOAD!” messages abounded as the story made its way across Twitter and animal-related blogs.

Cute? Really? They look more like genetic nightmares to me. When is breeding to exaggerate a single feature ever a good thing? Answer: never.

We’ve got HUGE dogs who only live six or seven years maximum. Are the attention and the “WOW, he’s BIG!” comments really worth the health and longevity trade-offs to the people who are buying these dogs?

We have so many smashed face breeds now that are wheezing and snoring their way through life, there ought to be a whole group dedicated to them at Westminster. Is it really THAT adorable to listen to these dogs strain just to breathe?

Of course those BIG EXPRESSIVE EYES on pugs and the like are totally worth the risk that they’ll get knocked out of their shallow eye sockets with a tap to the side of the head.

How about another dog show group for the breeds who can no longer conceive naturally and whose every pregnancy is “high risk.” Frenchies are my favorite on this count. AI to breed, C-section to deliver followed by immediate surgeries to correct their palettes and nostril passages so they can actually breathe and eat. But SO CUTE! Right?

Barf.

What’ll it take for the functional conformation, health and longevity to be the new “OMG KYOOT! I’LL PAY $2,000 FOR THAT!”?

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