Designer Breeding Grows Increasingly Harmful (Expert Opinion)
Designer dogs are a long-standing and prevalent phenomenon in dog ownership – where dog breeders engage in selective mating in order to create new mixes that combine desirable qualities from both dogs. Often, designer dogs are spared no expense in their creation and acquisition – selecting and shipping dog semen, artificially inseminating dogs, and using C-sections to get the puppies out, it can take up to thousands of dollars to make these new breeds.
Brooks Brown, one half of the designer dog organization Ft. Bully Kennels in Las Vegas, Nevada, says that these unique breeds can create some interesting combinations: “They do look like a Pitbull on steroids.”
Brown, along with business partner Michael Knight, breed American Bullys, which the United Kennel Club notes started as an offshoot of the American Pit Bull Terrier, influenced by the combination of a number of other breeds (including the American Bulldog) into its current incarnation. Since their inception in the 1990s, American Bullys are extremely popular – not to mention prohibitively expensive.
Says Brown, “Everybody wants the new thing. We don’t sell a lot of pups locally. We sell them all over the U.S. and overseas … Europe, there’s a high demand for them there, and Asia and South America.”
Despite this designer demand for unique dogs, however, this can lead breeders to “play God” and take sometimes-chancy risks in creating new dogs. “A lot of them can’t do natural breedings, and a lot of the breedings are done with shipped semen from all over the United States,” says Brown of breeders.
Dog breeders have been around for awhile, and in this age of technological and medical advancement, they have the specifics down to scientific precision, according to West Charleston Animal Hospital’s Dr. Greg Jones.
“A lot of people are starting to use the vet more as far as timing and with that comes investments,” Jones remarked. “Timing is important and, like I said, these owners are investing thousands of dollars on just semen. They’re hoping to get perfect timing. You’re hopeful to get it on the first shot but sometimes takes two or three tries in order to get a successful pregnancy.”
While this is an expensive practice, there are some downsides to dog breeding. For instance, breeded dogs can often find themselves in animal shelters, which are filling up fast with little to no hope for adoption. Pit bulls, a famous product of selective dog breeding, are a particular issue, as animal shelters are just not able to find sufficient numbers of homes for them, even when they waive adoption fees.
According to Nevada Political Action for Animal president Stacia Newman, this meddling with nature is costing thousands of dogs’ lives due to being put down by animal shelters who can no longer keep them. “It’s irresponsible. Take a look around here if you go up and down these buildings. Until these cages are empty, there’s no excuse for people to be buying. They should be down here adopting.”
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