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Playing with Genetics by Eurwentala Playing with Genetics by Eurwentala
A lot of text in this one, but I could not resist narrating it. It's a story about how humanity transformed a large predator into a doll in a few thousand years. Most of the changes actually happened just during the 20th century.

Many dog breeds have serious health problems that are caused not only by inbreeding but also because with such a distorted anatomy, it's simply impossible to produce a healthy animal. I think we have no right to cause such pain just for our own aesthetic pleasure, however lovely pets they might make.

I produced a series of these dog breed skulls for an article I wrote about the genetics of dog and fox domestication.

Update: the article is now translated and posted online. It can be found here: [link]
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marshmallowcreampie Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
It's kind of insane that people promote the breeding of traits that are outright harmful. Wanting a certain coat color, fine, certain ear type, whatever. But a smooshed-in face that makes it harder for the animal to breed? Stout figures that make it harder for them to run around and unable to mate and give birth without human assistance? Some of these animals practically look deformed.

The fox domestication project is an interesting topic. I can't help but wonder what other animals we could domesticate so quickly, if we put the work into it. And if we gave such projects thousands of years like we did with dogs, maybe they could even produce the same variety.
Eurwentala Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014
Yeah, but apparently most people simply cannot see the animals they love and breed are suffering, however obvious it is to the outsider.

I think some animals (say, those that are social and docile to begin with) would be easier to domesticate than others, but I'm pretty sure that most mammals, at least, could be domesticated very quickly if we put some effort into it. And the foxes are already showing signs of dog-like diversity: they have an increasing number of piebald colors, floppy ears, curly tails and so on.
marshmallowcreampie Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014
I guess they grow to see that kind of thing as normal. I often see snorting being described as a "characteristic" of certain breeds like the pug rather than being called a health problem.

Agreed on the domestication thing. I'm surprised it hasn't been attempted more, since there are so many people who want exotic pets without having to put in the extra work it would be compared with a domestic animal.
Dinofuzz Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I knew, they have problems with breathing and other painful difficulties, but looking at the skulls... Oh, my! So grotescuely deformed!
YusakuJon3 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
   I can agree that there's a bit too much of the "cute dog" mentality going on in breeding.  I'd rather have the dog with minimal health issues that actually looks like a dog, that'll use its pack instincts to guard the house and family, or be useful in things that it's natural ancestry would've made it fit for, such as hunting and keeping wandering children in the yard.  Here in the States, it seems that more people want "show dogs" than actual pets who serve purposes other than apartment furniture.
Eurwentala Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014
Personally, I'm fine with having a dog for any purpose, as long as the dog's well-being comes first.

Many people adopt a dog because they're lonely, or to serve as children they can't have at the moment, or to force them to go outside and exercise. And it's all fine, as long as the dogs are healthy and happy. Which they, unfortunately, often are not. 
HiloHello Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014
Ha, it looks like Carlos II!
Wolframclaws Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Well that explains why I dislike both babies and toy breeds.
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
This goes a long way towards explaining why it's the fancy little dogs that yap the most and the loudest and keep me up at night. They are in a world of hurt, 24/7.

I totally agree here, dog breeders have manipulated some crazy **** that we shouldn't be messing with. It's so ridiculous that Animal Planet channel can talk about supporting the ASPCA and fighting animal cruelty and then right after that get back to regularly scheduled programming of extremely bizarre and deformed show dogs, and brag about how wonderfully flat is the face of the bulldog, how wrinkly the Shar-pei, and how clumsy and tripping-over-its-own-fur the Pomeranian. And they act like breeding dogs to those proportions is something other than cruelty. Let's call a spade a spade here, plenty of modern breeds are downright disfigured and from an evolutionary point of view, functionally ugly and useless. Skulls distorted, teeth out of place, nerves and sinuses pinched, and they HATE being this way and living with that pain.

Same thing happens with cats, look at Persian cats. 100 years ago the original Persian cats were a very beautiful and healthy animal… , today this classic breed is called "dollface" Persian… which belies that fact that for centuries this WAS the only Persian cat type.

Now for reasons that can't really be explained, breeders in the USA have for decades bred the Persian into a bulldog-like configuration to look like some dumbass smashed it in the nose with a frying pan. You had first a transitional stage, the "teddy bear Persian":… which also comes in tufted and jowled forms: rememberingletters.files.wordp… Cute to a point, but also has more health problems. Then we get the extreme endgame, the modern "American Persian" which just looks disgusting:…… How can these poor things breathe let alone keep their faces clean?

A world apart from the regal lion-like appearance that the Persian cat originally had (and in most countries, still does).…
Jdailey1991 Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2014
Are you familiar with a BBC documentary called "Pedigree Dogs Exposed"?
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