Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Go Dog Go

The American Kennel Club now allows mongrels to participate in their dog shows. Shocking, isn't it? Is this the beginning of the end for purebred dog breeding, or will the AKC find some way to screw up mutts?

Our concept of breeding pedigreed dogs to established standards is a legacy of the Victorians, those wonderful people who brought us eugenics, colonialism, and industrialized child labor. People had been breeding dogs to select desirable traits for countless centuries, but it was in the nineteenth century that we first got the idea of breeding to a set of written appearance standards and documenting bloodlines.

Over the years, by focusing on these arbitrary standards, the AKC has caused dogs to be bred for looks instead of health. As a result we have animals suffering hip dysplasia and any number of other genetic ailments. So-called purebred dogs are far more prone to painful physical problems than good old mutts.

Rather than celebrating the fact that healthy dogs are being allowed to play in the AKC's dog park, mongrel owners should create their own club. Papers would be created to track the mutt's family background, proving that there is not a speck of pedigree contamination in the bloodline. Canine genetic diversity would be honored. Dogs of indeterminate origin would be celebrated for their essential happy, healthy doggy-ness, and stud books would be tossed into the ash heap of history where they belong.

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