This was the hot topic on Sheepdog-L last week. There was an on-line article from a UK publication that said that purebred dogs are becoming dumber and dumber …
Is the dumbness (if it indeed exists and I think it does) truly the result of breeding for purebred dogs or is there more involved here?
What about vaccinations? Something that purebred (and other) dogs get lots of. There’s no question that the additives in vaccines can cause brain damage, not to mention damage from the virus itself (as in the rabies and distemper vaccines).
What about diet? You are what you eat and there are studies that show that certain amino acids, only found in meat, improve brain development. Some high end kibble manufacturers add these amino acids, but are they as bioavailable to the dog in their altered form?
What about environment? Is sitting in a crate or kennel most of the day conducive for brain development?
The brain of the domestic dog is considerably smaller than that of its ancestor, the wolf. Why do wolves have to be smarter than domestic dogs? Because they have to take care of themselves and survive or is it because they are not receiving an annual cocktail of vaccinations and consuming real food (meat)?
When this topic got going, I unsubscribed from daily e-mail from that list. I just couldn’t stand reading the holier-than-though posts from the self-proclaimed sheepdog Gods that were appearing. Of course the AKC vs. ISDS-style herding trials got into the discussion. What does trialing have to do with dumb dogs? Of course, I will admit that it doesn’t take much of a dog to run an AKC herding trial and it takes a lot more dog (training, ability and yes intelligence) to run an ISDS-style trial, but are these people who are breeding for the ideal working Border Collie doing them any more justice than those breeding for looks?
I’m not sure … but quite frankly, I am not sure do not think breeding dogs, cats or even horses, for anything that a human wants or desires these days is in the best interests of the animals involved.
There’s been so much going on in my life lately that I had forgotten about this discussion and about unsubscribing to Sheepdog-L. This morning, it came back to me and I realized, shit, I don’t miss reading those posts, I truly don’t. I don’t miss reading any of the Border Collie Boards. It’s all just one person’s opinion over another that often ends up in mud slinging. I truly wish for a simpler existence, one where I work my dogs for the joy of working them, watching them progress, knowing that they are doing what they were bred to do. I will not deny that breeding for working Border Collies is something that was, at one time, a good thing and of course that they should be preserved, but there’s too darned many people doing it these days and many of them are breeding for all the wrong reasons. The days of true working farms are getting numbered. There are going to be fewer and fewer homes for these dogs, why breed more?
Oh, I forgot, for the money and prestige.