Pedigree Dogs Exposed

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Pedigree dogs are suffering from genetic diseases following years of inbreeding, an investigation has found.

A BBC documentary says they are suffering acute problems because looks are emphasised over health when breeding dogs for shows.

The programme shows spaniels with brains too big for their skulls and boxers suffering from epilepsy.

The Kennel Club says it works tirelessly to improve the health of pedigree dogs.

Pedigree animals make up 75% of the seven million dogs in the UK and cost their owners over £10m in vets’ fees each week.

Poor health

The programme, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, says dogs suffering from genetic illness are not prevented from competing in dog shows and have gone on to win “best in breed”, despite their poor health.

It says physical traits required by the Kennel Club’s breed standards, such as short faces, wrinkling, screw-tails and dwarfism, have inherent health problems.

Other problems occur because of exaggerations bred into dogs by breeders trying to win rosettes, it adds.

The programme shows a prize-winning cavalier King Charles spaniel suffering from syringomyelia, a condition which occurs when a dog’s skull is too small for its brain.

It also features boxers suffering from epilepsy, pugs with breathing problems and bulldogs who are unable to mate or give birth unassisted.

It says deliberate mating of dogs which are close relatives is common practice and the Kennel Club registers dogs bred from mother-to-son and brother-to-sister matings.

Scientists at Imperial College, London, recently found that pugs in the UK are so inbred that although there are 10,000 of them, it is the equivalent of just 50 distinct individuals.

Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, said: “People are carrying out breeding which would be first of all entirely illegal in humans and secondly is absolutely insane from the point of view of the health of the animals.

“In some breeds they are paying a terrible price in genetic disease.”

Pedigree Dogs Exposed, 9.8 out of 10 based on 76 ratings

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  • http://www.petfoodz.info/ Yatti420

    Amazing to see how far breeds have changed from what they use to be… Sad to see the state of which Pedigree/Show Dogs have been degraded to.. I wonder what the scene looks like in the US\Canada.. Do we have our own “Kennel Club” etc..

    • Boolanoola101

      Yup we’ve got the AKC, American Kennel Club

  • Kass P.

    A very important documentary: a highly respected media organisation presented unequivocal facts on how cruelty, selfishness moral-free of dog breeders.

    FYI .. the impact of this was so great in the UK that the BBC stopped broadcasting the annual dog show ‘Crufts.’

    Rescue centres have so many beautiful & loving doges in desparate need of good homes. Not only will re-homing such dogs rescue them but you get a healthly animal (no conditions resulting from in-breeding); lower vets bills over the life of the dog; lower purchase cost .. often just a small donation; reduce the over breeding of dogs; avoid money going to dog breeders: these centres know the personality of each dog & so can advise of suitability; the centres love and care for the dogs.

    Breeders do not even think of thr dogs are living creatures: just as units or products from which they make money or in the case of shows gain some form of fame or validation. Ignore the claim of some breeders that the problems are isolated with puppy farms / puppy mills .. all breeders are responsible.

    • threenorns

      um…. i gotta argue with you on this one. i do know a fair number of breeders and while a couple of them have fit your profile, the majority of the ones i know absolutely do not. they have anywhere from 4 to 8 dogs that live in the house or in a houselike environment (one breeder bought a property that came with a 3-bd rental cottage, each bedroom houses one breeding pair). the breeders’ families spend a *lot* of time with the dogs who are, as a result, divinely socialize – calm, pleasant, and welcoming to all. they get the vet checks and puppy shots on schedule (even though i personally am wholly against vaccination) and the food provided is top-grade (two of them feed raw food diet, which is my personal preference).

      given the amount of time and money spent on the dogs and considering they don’t know how many will be in the litter (could be 2, could be 10), i really can’t see the *good* breeders doing more than breaking even on the enterprise.

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  • marie72

    THEY SHOULD HAVE A NEW DOG SHOW that rewards dogs that look like the original dogs of the 1800′s.
    A natural dog show would be great!

    • Boolanoola101

      Unfortunately that would just start a whole new obsession with those standards! What I think are really cool, though, are the skill based competitions, like agility, tracking, ground sport for terriers, etc.

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  • Psyllo

    Humans. We’re such a silly species.

  • Psyllo

    Inbreeding can strengthen a strain how? Killing off the healthiest animals strengthens a strain how? How strange.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely disgusting. I don’t know which is the worst, the Idiots who buy these dogs & perpetuate this cruelty to the animals or those who spend £10,million a week on vets fees when there are Human beings dying in the world because of poverty & a lack of clean drinking water. As it said in the doc, it’s just eugenics & no different to what the Nazi’s were trying to do, only to animals instead of Humans. This practice should be made illegal, it is just wide scale animal abuse. The chairman of the British vets association only agrees with it because of all the money that he is making out of it. All true animal lovers should boycott any company that sponsors these disgusting dog shows, that openly promote animal abuse.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely disgusting. I don’t know which is the worst, the Idiots who buy these dogs & perpetuate this cruelty to the animals or those who spend £10,million a week on vets fees when there are Human beings dying in the world because of poverty & a lack of clean drinking water. As it said in the doc, it’s just eugenics & no different to what the Nazi’s were trying to do, only to animals instead of Humans. This practice should be made illegal, it is just wide scale animal abuse. The chairman of the British vets association only agrees with it because of all the money that he is making out of it. All true animal lovers should boycott any company that sponsors these disgusting dog shows, that openly promote animal abuse.

  • andrew

    Its amazing how these people are heads of dog clubs, but they have no idea about genetics. They ask for scientific proof that inbreeding is totally wrong….Well open up a book for a change….

  • Boolanoola101

    This totally opened my eyes…I knew there were overbreeding problems, but I never stopped to consider the key role played the Kennel Club’s (and its equivalents in other countries) strict breed standards. Very well made documentary that discusses the history as well as the current issues. There is definitely some personal emotion dragged in to the narration and the interview style, though, and while I realize it is an emotional issue, I always feel that documentaries are best when they allow the footage to speak for itself. That’s why I’m not a big fan of Michael Moore-esque attack-mode films. I do recommend this, though.

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  • Sedant

    It is my belife that the KENNEL CLUB has a lot to answere for and it should be replaced by HHDC ( healthy happy dogs club ) and all breading dogs and pups should be screened for health problems before breading is allowed.  i allso believe all owners should sighn an agreement not to breed unless a certificate of health proving and allowing there dog to produce pups.  i know this sounds over the top but would you bread with a regect and happily give birth to babies that will have a lifetime of suffering ? i think not.  if you agree then copy this and add to facebook.

    • threenorns

      you had me until the “facebook” comment. that was just lame.

  • Nancy

    I’m reminded of an argument I had with a breeder of shelties. She was making a case for line breeding, claiming that a consistent physical type cannot be produced without it and that genetic disorders can be avoided with proper testing. While she explained this, her dozen or so carbon copy show dogs (one a deaf double merle), all surgically de-barked, spun like lunatics, jumping up and down and rasping in their kennels. While I made a heated case for the necessity of genetic variability for health and temperament, my little outcrossed, backyard bred, unregistered Badger, also a sheltie, stood calmly at my side, off leash, watching the goings on patiently. The dichotomy could not have been clearer to me. And to her. She had a lot to say about his conformation faults.

  • Sevendarkdays

    Nothing wrong with eugenics if done for the right purpouse. The breeding that went on before showdogs eg, breeding for hunting abilties etc, was eugenics aswell but this tends to make stronger, healthier dogs rather than the disease-ridden showdogs.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Endrikh-Darkvine/563622459 Endrikh Darkvine

    horrible suffering of inbred pedigree abominations, another good example of humans fucking nature up for greed and some retarded book of rules and regulations.

  • Anon

     This is the reason I have always kept mongrels and moggies instead of pedigree pets. They make better pets anyway: they are happy and healthy, I can count on my fingers the number of times they’ve visited the vet, and they live much longer.
    They are also free of the psychological problems you see in pedigrees (rage syndrome in spaniels or the extreme dog-aggression levels in pitbulls for example).
    To top it off mongrels are unique looking so you know no one else has a pet exactly like yours :)

  • Marie

    The people who are breeding these dogs should have to have an MRI scan theirselves before being allowed to own a dog never mind breed from dogs.  The people who truely love and cherish their dogs would volunteer to have them medically checked over before breeding from them, who in the right mind would want to help produce a puppy that is going to grow up (or not) in pain only getting worse as they progress in age.  Animal breeding should not be a money making game for these people who think they are better than everyone else and think because they have bred a certain type of dog for a certain amount of years they assume they no more than a Vet or Scientist or Genetics expert.  The woman who owned Rolo the Cavelier King Charles Spaniel should be totally ashamed of herself dogs aren’t there just to make a profit for yourself and she should be made to see the suffering that she herself has caused to all of the puppies that her dog has sired and at the very least be made to pay back the money she stole from the people who bought the puppies off her in good faith believing she was an animal lover, in the world of business this is called mis-representation and she should be held to rites about breeding from this ill dog when a professional told her she must never breed from him. 

    If any of these breeders had any love for any dogs the first most important process for them would be that these animals are healthy and go to good homes.

    Come on Kennel Club give these people a wake-up call.

    • threenorns

      problem with that is many genetic problems do not show up in the parents or even the grandparents. hip dysplasia, f.ex, the current bugbear of the industry: there will never be a genetic test for it (and any breeder who issues a certificate of soundness bef the dog is 9mo old is an out and out fake) bec all it is is “loose hips”. there are many, MANY reasons why a dog can end up with CHD: genetic predisposition is one (although the genes may refer to the shape of the hip socket, the width or depth of the pelvis, the length of the long bones of the leg, the angle of attack, the size of the acetabulum, etc) but there are dogs who are perfectly genetically sound who get it as well as a result of overexercising as puppies, underexercising as puppies, trauma to the hip socket, inflammation, or being overweight (the excess weight literally stretches the soft puppy bones of the pelvis).

      the only thing is to carefully control breeding to no more than one litter every two years and in the meantime, monitor the offspring – as soon as a problem is detected, the parents to be retired from breeding.

  • cully

    many of the people in this documentary should be culled for lack of intelligence and humanity

  • Antidaeophobia

    Health issues in dogs is one of the reasons why I left the AKC and do most of my work with the UKC. At least I feel like I have more of an effect on advocating for healthy breeding at my UKC shows than when I did AKC work. I show Coonhounds and most of the people I’ve met through shows and hunts are pretty obsessed with work-ability rather than appearance. What I’ve noticed is that the more you breed a dog for it’s ability to work and it’s health, the more beautiful the breed becomes naturally, although it may not look as extreme in appearance as you may like.
    I’ve had a terrible history when it comes to buying pedigree dogs from AKC. My first, a Leopard Cur dog had a degenerative condition of the brain. It slowly caused her to go insane and she started attacking me. I found out later that the breeder had been inbreeding his dogs for a long time and that he had hid that her parents were brother and sister. Since then I’ve had a dog with serious allergies and a heart murmur, a Golden with a rare, and we later found out; a genetic, long bone cancer and was dead by 3yrs. All of the dogs were from Grand Champion lines too. Only my mutts, Schipperke and my Coonhounds have been healthy.
    I hope stricter breeding practices will not only be pushed by kennel clubs but also by the government.

  • Antidaeophobia

    @Nancy (The Sheltie Owner)
    I had a similar instance where I was in a store with my service dog (my Redbone coonhound) and a AKC shower of Redbones, came up and started telling me how hideously ugly and how many faults my Redbone service dog had and that I ought to euthanize him. What she didn’t know was that he comes out of 7 generations of grand champion show and hunting dogs and he looks like exactly like the coonhounds looked in the 1800′s while her (she showed me pics of what a “proper hound” should look like) and they were all orange colored, short nosed, short eared and had white all over there stomach and had splayed feet and none of them had ever hunted a day in their life. She also didn’t know that my SD is also a show dog and is Best of Show and his pedigree is free of health issues as is he.
    What ticked me off most was that she felt it was necessary to come up to me in public and talk about how awful my dog looked. Thank goodness she was there to come down from her glistening mountain of knowledge to bless me with her pearls of wisdom.

    • threenorns

      my bff has a purebred chocolate lab and went through the exact same experience. the woman started off by insisting there was no way Gauge was a purebred – “he’s way too big and fat” (bec we all know labs in no way ever get chubby) and his head was far too massive and so on. came close to accusing my bff of passing off a pit bull as a chocolate lab (my friend has to carry his papers bec of ontario’s moronic BSL!). when the woman noticed the dog was intact, she read my bff the riot act about dogs like Gauge were “ruining the breed” (Gauge is intact for health reasons – the consequences of neutering, esp neutering purebreds, are really awful; look it up).

      personally, i’da punched her betw the eyes and walked on but my friend has more class than i do.

  • threenorns

    i don’t know why everybody refers to the kennel club as if it’s some kind of authority – it really isn’t. it just issues “guidelines” and leaves it up to breeders to voluntarily report birth defects and health problems while collecting hefty fees. the american kennel club is so useless, it’s papers aren’t even accepted in canada: it’s as useful as the voluntary reporting of adverse vaccine reactions in children – tits on a bull, in other words.

    “breed standards” are useless – look what they’ve done to the border collie, for example! the border collie traditionally does not have a “standard” appearance bec looks are not what the border is about – it’s what’s betw the ears that counts (said ears requiring to be two in number unless one was lost in the line of duty and can be up, mostly up, partly up, just not all down and pointy, not big and floppy). so now we’ve got a whole whack of “standard” border collies that look more like black and white foxes than dogs and, the ones i’ve seen in the past few years, are completely neurotic and totally lacking the warmth and charm that was so important in the working dog.

    speaking of, since when does a breed “standard” require dogs to be surgically altered to fit the profile?

    the entire concept is horrible.

  • threenorns

    i don’t know why everybody refers to the kennel club as if it’s some kind of authority – it really isn’t. it just issues “guidelines” and leaves it up to breeders to voluntarily report birth defects and health problems while collecting hefty fees. the american kennel club is so useless, its papers aren’t even accepted in canada: it’s as useful as the voluntary reporting of adverse vaccine reactions in children – tits on a bull, in other words.
    “breed standards” are useless – look what they’ve done to the border collie, for example! the border collie traditionally does not have a “standard” appearance bec looks are not what the border collie is about – it’s what’s betw the ears that counts (said ears requiring to be two in number unless one was lost in the line of duty and can be up, mostly up, partly up, just not all down; and pointy, not big and floppy). so now we’ve got a whole whack of “standard” border collies that look more like black and white foxes than dogs and, the ones i’ve seen in the past few years, are completely neurotic and totally lacking the warmth and charm that was so important in the working dog.
    speaking of, since when does a breed “standard” require dogs to be surgically altered to fit the profile?
    the entire concept is horrible.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=557338393 Deborah Moderate

    Ridgebacks one third into the video. The blonde woman who says “They don’t have a ridge and the vet wont put them down because they are healthy, happy puppies. So we take them to a private vet and have them quietly put down. I would rather that than have them in the hands of dog fighters which I think is appalling”. What an obnoxious, ignorant, selfish, unjust, unfair, cruel woman. …….. moving along. The King Charles Spaniels kennel club interview, two men who defy logic. They behave as children having their toy tinkered with. Finding excuse after excuse to not face up to the truth and admit it. This is not about the dogs, it is about fame and fortune. These people are the lowest on the food chain as far as I am concerned.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=557338393 Deborah Moderate

    Many of these comments are too old to respond to I think, so instead I just wanted to say this. All of those in this video who deny that their dogs are sick or have a degenerative type disease know exactly what they are doing in my opinion. To revert back to a standard in the past must take years of breeding out I would think. Their dogs are their investments, not their pets, loved family members, but units of currency churning out cash crops. Now I do not speak on behalf of all breeders, I am sure there are those who love and are responsible towards their dogs. I am speaking about those in this video and the thousands like them. If the holy book of breed standards says “Thou dog can have excess skin” then that is exactly what they are going to breed and in excess without a second thought to the breed itself. Because of this it is the responsibility of the Kennel Club to word their book to the benefit of the dogs and not to appease the breeders.

  • MissStef

    people suck….rescue a mutt

  • Dave78

    Our world is suffering at the hands of humans. Fuck humanity, every human including me should die.

  • Dave78

    The Kennel Club… an organisation made up of people too old to be interested in sex.

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