It’s a sad reality in South Africa, but for every beloved fat Labrador, Staffie or Doberman, there’s a long line of dogs that are homeless. According to the City Council, in Cape Town alone, it is estimated there are over 230 000 stray dogs and in the overcrowded Khayelitsha township, the NSPCA (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) estimates dogs outnumber humans three to one.
It seems incredible that, at one time, the Bull Terrier was a handsome, athletic dog.
People, however, still continue to shop, motivating breeder to continue “producing” stock … This, in itself, causes some major problems as well as selective breeding often brings with it a string of genetic disorders in an attempt to perfect certain characteristics.
“It seems incredible that, at one time, the Bull Terrier was a handsome, athletic dog. Somewhere along its journey to a mutated skull and thick abdomen the bull terrier also picked up a number of other maladies like supernumerary teeth and compulsive tail-chasing,” explains Caen Elegans, in his piece 100 Years of Breed “Improvement”. Here Elegans compares dogs from the 1915 book Breeds of All Nations to modern examples.
“The Basset Hound has gotten lower, has suffered changes to its rear leg structure, has excessive skin, vertebra problems, droopy eyes prone to entropion and ectropion and excessively large ears,” Elegans continues.
“A shorter face means a host of problems. The modern Boxer not only has a shorter face but the muzzle is slightly upturned. The boxer – like all bracecyphalic dogs – has difficulty controlling its temperature in hot weather. This inability to shed heat places limits on physical performance. It also has one of the highest cancer rates.”
You can really make a massive difference in a loving doggy’s life and stop animal cruelty.
No story, however, is as sad as the English Bulldog’s. “The English bulldog has come to symbolise all that is wrong with the dog fancy and not without good reason; they suffer from almost every possible disease. A 2004 survey by the Kennel Club found that they die at the median age of 6,25 years. There really is no such thing as a healthy bulldog. The bulldog’s monstrous proportions make them virtually incapable of mating or birthing without medical intervention.”
I’m not saying that all breeders and people that buy dogs are evil, but intentional unhealthy dog breeding shouldn’t be incentivised and there really are thousands of dogs that would make wonderful companions, be they purebreds or mutts.
You can really make a massive difference in a loving doggy’s life and stop animal cruelty. Elegans says it best: “Condemning a dog to a lifetime of suffering for the sake of looks is not an improvement; it is torture.”
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I’ve learned that a few sentences can be worth much more … My parents dubbed me “Johannes Jacobus de Klerk”, but I prefer “Jaco” (or “the beard of this operation”: my aim is to grow a “yeard”) … Read more