The American Kennel Club's Breeding Standards Might Be Killing Dogs


Guys, we might be contributing to canine unhealthiness with our love of designer pooches. As different breeds like the Pekingese or bulldog are bred to fit certain standards put forth by the American Kennel Club, including a shortened snout and an enlarged head, the pups might be cute, but they can’t breathe.

During HBO Sports, Soledad O’Brien spoke to pet owner Mike Sears who says he bought two pure bred bulldogs, Thor and Loki, who died not long after he purchased them. Thor passed away of a condition called laryngeal collapse, which caused his throat to cave in on itself. The dog would randomly pass out when he wasn’t getting enough air, coming to when his air passages had relaxed and Loki had other health problems that eventually killed him while he was still a puppy. Now, Sears says he’s forgoing the puppies the American Kennel Club has defined as pure bred and who might win the Westminster Dog Show. Instead he bought a bulldog that looks more like the bred’s origin some 100 years ago, before the dog’s body was changed so drastically.

Wayne Cavanaugh, a former American Kennel Club executive, told O’Brien that seeing the dogs each year at dog shows, it’s hard to see the harmful effects of the guidelines they were perpetuating. But once he left the AKC and looked at the way the dogs’ appearances had changed over time, he realized the error of his ways.

Now, Cavanaugh has joined the United Kennel Club, a smaller rival of the AKC, which encourages healthy breeding guidelines like banning mating a father and daughter to keep the bloodline pure. These matings result in health problems and, you know, incest. With organizations like his, Cavanaugh hopes to return dog breeding to a safe past time instead of a fierce race for genetic perfection.

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