It has been said that the dog is man´s best friend. If true then many dogs across Spain and Europe have been betrayed.
Not necessarily in an act of direct cruelty but in a relatively new fashion for increasingly stylised breed. Hundreds of years of intensive breeding have created breeds of dogs with excessive deformities and on-going health issues.
In order to achieve the perfect accessory humans have selected particular traits and after years of breeding accentuated these purely for fashion. Excess folds of skin, no snouts, ludicrously long ears. These intensive breeding programmes, which are slowly mutating and disfiguring pets beyond all recognition, have caused some breeds atrocious pain. There has been a pressure to develop more excessive features in line with show dogs and this in turn has had an impact on the market. This has resulted in the desire for ever increasing pure gene pools resulting in extreme in-breeding.
Health issues can be anything from hip dysplasia, which causes chronic suffering, impaired immune function and loss of resistance to fatal diseases like cancer. Nowadays, many breeds are highly inbred and express an extraordinary variety of genetic defects. Unsuspecting owners can be hit with endless vet bills and the agony of watching beloved pets suffer unnecessarily.
Dogs first became man´s best friend following the association between wolves scavenging alongside early humans some 33,000 years ago. Very slowly, some wolves became domesticated and evolved into dogs. Today´s pet dogs originate from Asia and migrated to Europe with humans, new researched has confirmed.
Professor Savolainen, who is an expert on dog gene sequencing said: ´The history of dogs may involve three major stages including loosely engaged pre-domesticated scavengers, domesticated non-breed dogs with close human-dog interactions and breed formation following intense human selection for a diverse set of traits.´
Now with the ever advancing world of science at our fingertips, gene sequencing and cloning in pet dogs is becoming more commonplace. ´Designer Dogs´ are being created at the every whim of the new owner. Where will this lead our furry friends on their evolutionary path?
Like the UK, there are many highly bred pet dogs in Spain. However here, being able to purchase them from the local pet shops or garden centre is the norm where the history and the breeding is unknown. Caveat emptor.