Selective Breeding

Dakota Koons

What is Selective Breeding?

Selective breeding, or artificial selection, is the process of humans breeding for specific, desired characteristics in breeds of animals. This is especially common in pets like dogs and cats.

Is Selectively Breeding for Certain Traits Bad?

Selectively breeding can make mutations a more common occurence, hence making it dangerous for the animals. It's especially bad if the trait is specifically sought out and it becomes exaggerated, and starts to affect the animal's body negatively and starts to cause health problems.

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Health Problems in Pugs Due to Selective Breeding

  • “Trick knees”: common in smaller dogs. A dislocation of the kneecaps. Severe cases normally require surgery.

  • PDE: Pug Dog Encephalitis, inflammation of the brain, unique to pugs. Affects young to middle-aged pugs and causes seizures.

  • Stenotic nares: extremely soft nasal tissues, when the dog breathes its nostrils collapse and the dog is forced to breathe through its mouth.

  • ESP: elongated soft palate, blockage of the dog’s airway, can be corrected by surgery

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: begins with night blindness in young dogs, and gradually the dog’s vision deteriorates to blindness.

  • Hip dysplasia: affects over half the pug population, causes lameness in the hind legs.

Health Problems in Other Breeds Due to Selective Breeding

  • Bulldogs cannot breed or birth without the help of a human due to their exaggeratedly wide-set bodyshape.

  • Great Danes are more likely to get heart attacks

  • Basset hounds are prone to eye-infections due to their droopy eyes, and has vertebrae problems

  • Boxers have one of the highest cancer rates in dogs

  • St. Bernards overheat easily and can no longer work as well as they were originally bred for