Friday, 19 September 2008

Bassets up to all sorts!

I've just heard the Basset breeders or possibly even a club are ready to break away from the Kennel Club, not sure whether that's so they can avoid regulation and keep having those pointless saggy extra bits of flesh - or if they want to breed back to the way the breed used to look as shown on the TV prog.
Anyone got any info?
Any other groups of people wanting to breed back to a less exaggerated example of their breed please do get in touch. I've got a contact in Victorian Bulldogs, but would love to identify some more reformists!

Please don't forget the petition:

Near to 400 now, please do keep spreading the word!


Jan said...

How I wish that there were some Cavalier breeders who would start up a new organisation.

I think we need some new breed clubs independent of the KC who will start breeding for health and be vocal in advertising this.

Julia said...

I feel really sorry for these poor modern basset hounds. Fancy having to walk along with your stomach and 'bits' virtually dragging on the ground, just so that you can have pointless 'leg furniture'.

It would be nice to see some of the breeds back to some of their older forms. I personally think a lot of them were far better.

Jackie said...

Is it the Albany bassets?

Anonymous said...

While I remember Beverley, I have a set of Hutchinson's Illustrated Dog Encyclopaedias from the 1930s. Black & White illos, but useful to show the contrast from then to now.

Julia Lewis said...

It might take a little time for people to come forward because they might be concerned about being turfed out of their breed clubs, or of offending friends.
Best of all would be if a whole breed club approached you, having realised that you actually have their dogs best interests at heart.
Most of the breeds, actually, need some kind of help in the way of a suitable outcross, I would have thought, and guidelines to follow to improve the health of their dogs.
The contrast between breeding for shows and breeding for function is most clearly seen in the spaniels. With these dogs you don't need to refer back to old photos because you often see the two versions side by side.
The show ones are bred for beauty but what strikes one is what a sad sight they are compared to their working cousins, who are not only far more attractive, but have a much better build. The working dogs just look good - they have lovely heads, firm eyes, shorter ears, wider chests and no ridiculous feathering.
The poor show springers are absurdly tall and look as though a puff of wind would blow them over. Their backs slope down from their shoulders to their tails, and their ears - what kind of people would wish a dog to have such absurdly long ears?
It always makes me annoyed when Crufts talks about these spaniels as "gundogs" when they are almost a different breed from the real ones. Do they think no-one notices?

Anonymous said...

Looks as if the Australian Kennel Club are also going the right way: "Animals cannot be bred for show purposes if they are found to have conditions such as hip and elbow problems." It's a start?

Although they make a good point: "...if you test for genetic disease and remove those animals which test positive or are carriers then you make the breeding pool much smaller"

Beverley Cuddy said...

the link on the last comment didn't work for me so I did a bit of digging here is the article:

Is being top dog worth all the pain?
20th September 2008, 12:00 WST

A King Charles spaniel writhing in agony because its skull is too small for its brain, a boxer fitting uncontrollably and a pug unable to breathe.

The shocking images shown in a BBC documentary highlighted what the British RSPCA said were potentially lifethreatening genetic diseases suffered by many popular pedigree breeds, including basset hounds, German shepherds and bulldogs.

The documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, prompted the RSPCA to warn dogs would be dangerously inbred if they continued to be bred purely for their looks. The charity said a range of breeds should be withdrawn from Crufts, the world’s premier dog show.

The RSPCA said it found the emphasis on pure breeds had created deformed and disabled dogs and was “morally unjustifiable”. “Dog shows using current breed standards as the main judging criteria actively encourage both the intentional breeding of deformed and disabled dogs and the inbreeding of closely related animals,” Mark Evans, the charity’s chief veterinary adviser, said.

The RSPCA in Australia was more cautious, but warned it was “opposed to the selective breeding of companion animals that produced changes in bodily form or function detrimental to their health or quality of life”.

An RSPCA spokesman said the organisation had no intention of boycotting the Perth Royal Show’s dog shows.

“We are not aware that the Royal Show has anything like the anomalies that Crufts has unfortunately become famous for. I would be extremely surprised if that was the case,” he said.

Dr Paul McGreevy, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Veterinary Science, said it was a key welfare issue and warned it was only a matter of time before breeding practices were forced to change.

“The incidence of certain inherited defects in some breeds is unacceptably high while the number of registered animals of certain breeds within some countries is so low as to make it almost impossible for breeders to avoid mating close relatives,” he said.

Dr McGreevy said Australia had the greatest vulnerability to inbreeding because the country was so isolated.

He called for more use of IVF and embryonic transplants to allow genes from other States and countries into established gene pools. “For breeders, it is all about purity and that is the mistake they seem to be making,” he said.

The Australian National Kennel Council has a list of disorders its members must test for. Animals cannot be bred for show purposes if they are found to have conditions such as hip and elbow problems. Some breeders also voluntarily test for other conditions.

The Canine Association of WA’s Anna Courtman said Australian breeders were committed to the welfare of dogs and had worked to eradicate genetic disorders.

Australian Veterinary Association president Dr David Neck agreed Australian breeders had fewer problems than those in Britain and were good at monitoring lines for genetic disorders.

But he said removing affected animals from bloodlines still had undesirable consequences. “One of the problems faced by breeders with the rarer breeds is that if you test for genetic disease and remove those animals which test positive or are carriers then you make the breeding pool much smaller,” he said.

Ms Courtman said the advent of DNA testing had already started to revolutionise the industry, with more information on individual animals available, making it easier to breed “the best of the best”.

“It is a genetic soup but DNA testing is going to make that easier. We have more and more people wanting DNA testing done,” she said. “I think DNA will be one of the biggest tools dog breeders use for breeding the best of a dog and filtering out genetic problems.”


Peterlg1948 said...

I'm not really happy about signing this petition. The aim of our real opponents (and that includes the RSPCA) is the "abolition" of the pedigree dog, or indeed the whole concept of companion animals, and by putting the future of the Kennel Club in the hands of the government, we're playing right into their hands. We need to stick together in times like this, not be divided amongst ourselves.