America isn’t unique in having an affinity for pedigreed politicians (Bush, Kennedy, Adams, Taft, Roosevelt, and that once-again popular new breed, the Clinton). Lots of third world countries also choose their leaders from a small pool of advantaged families. Europe does also, with the Saxe-Coburg und Gothas providing the breeding farm for royalty, although most of that breed are mascots without any ability to cause any harm beyond the occasional politically incorrect remark.
It recently hit the local news that the great symbol of British character, the English Bulldog, is considered to be inbred and genetically deficient. Last year’s symbolic RSPCA boycott of Crufts was just responded to by a kennel club pledge to improve the standard of several hundred breeds.
Who could have known that a Bulldog was inbred just by looking at one, right? Although with their mouths shut, Kennedy and Bush both look better than a Bulldog, neither have the sort of eloquence that a selective breeder might desired. For inbred dogs, their bite is worse than their bark. For politicians, the opposite is the case.
Poor Churchill is not considered an appropriate use of the limited NHS funds available for orthodontia. I have to admit to little sympathy for the owners. I’m in support of greater genetic diversity for the dogs, who are really just victims of fashion, if not outright snobbishness. A few years ago at a high school sporting event, I overheard some 14-year old girl bragging about her expensive Retriever that the white ones were much better than the plain out golden ones. Pity for the dysplasia-prone dog, who will probably be on crutches before her owner outgrows (I hope) her elitist phase.
The very word ‘purebred’ is a value statement all by itself.
I’ve been aware for some time that purebred dogs not only cost more than mutts, but they are less healthy, and in some cases, are even prone to violent outbreaks. I did do a bit of research into the Bulldog issue, quickly finding a long rant in a blog last year from some guy who spent $6,500 on a Bulldog from someone he thought was a reputable breeder, but the canine turned out to be ugly, and underweight, reaching only 40 pounds, instead of the expected 50. Its an animal, not something predictable like a mortgage-backed security! A low-resiliency animal, it was deliberately bred to accentuate characteristics that will make it one of the first victims of the coming crisis. Why people don’t take pride in having pets that can live out a pain-free life of relative health? Oh, they will claim that its just the disreputable breeders responsible for substandard dogs, and just badly bred owners who are too ignorant or cheap to purchase well bred beasts. No sale. Look at the picture. How can that possibly be healthy? These things are genetic disasters, fit for no purpose other than human whimsy. Its time for a new standard of pet desirability and breeding practice. My prediction is that it will never happen until dog-pound dogs are considered ‘cool.’