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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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Dragon-of-Twilight Featured By Owner 5 hours ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm personally lucky to own a peke with little to no underbite! The most medical problems he has is his fading sight {but seeing as he's nearly 15 years old... That's not so bad either} :'3
Calypsoeclipse Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I've heard mutts are the best way to go. My dog is a beagle and pug mix and she's 13. Bulldogs have horrible breeding problems, and they can hardly breath if the face is to flat.
HUBLERDON Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
My friend's shi tzu looks more like the wolf man than the wolf it evolved from.
DoomScarf Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Don't like brachycephalic dogs (or cats) for that reason, always thought they were ugly looking, but learning that their squashed snouts results in breathing/temperature regulating problems (among other things) only made me dislike them more. I'd consider a retro pug as I think they look much better and are bred to be healthier - though they're not perfect.
Eurwentala Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015
Yeah. Now that I'm aware of their problems, brachycehalic dogs look even more grotesque to me. Though I can't say I dislike them - for the animals, I can only feel sympathy. It's the breeders and happy owners I dislike.

Just yesterday I saw a little Pekingese with a flat face and huge amount of fur, laying in the shade and desperately panting to cool off, while other dogs were happily running around the park and playing with each other. Poor thing.
tarbano Featured By Owner Edited May 19, 2015
This is why I prefer heavily mixed medium sized mutts that are just 'dog' dogs. A lot closer in size to the Indian wolf type that most dogs are spawned from so you don't typically have hip problems from overgrown bulk or limbs, and no 'fashionable snout deformities' on the head. Look a lot more natural and are typically a lot healthier and happier companion.
Eurwentala Featured By Owner May 20, 2015
While I don't think it has been conclusively shown from which sort of wolf dogs were bred, I agree with you. The most general pariah dog-type 'mutts' are the safest bet, when it comes to health. Though anatomy is not everything: while you would think basenjis, which were pretty much feral rainforest dogs a few generations ago, are as primitive as dogs come, their Western populations too suffer from hereditary epilepsy among other things.
tarbano Featured By Owner May 20, 2015
Yes, conclusive research is quite spotty. The current thought is dogs were either domesticated from a now extinct species of Canis that as extremely close to the wolf, jackal, and coyote; or was domesticated from a subspecies of Gray wolf very similar to the type currently found in Arabia and India. The thought that dogs came from something more jackal-like subspecies and less wolf-like (wolf here being the bulky Siberian, North American, and European subspecies) is because that type of canine tend to show more dog-like traits such as barking during adulthood in frequency, more potentially docile behavior around humans; and skull build in comparison to the earliest known dogs from about 30,000-100,000 years ago.…

And sure as rain anatomy ain't everything, but it can be a decent aid at times as it seems to be the largest or smallest breeds tend to have the most health problems; so I like to shoot for the middle and more importantly get as diverse a gene pool as possible. Very interesting information on the basenjis by the way, thanks!
LeahCK Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nice work!
WagginKennelClub Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist
I'm doing my senior thesis on this very topic (arguing that this breeding for exaggerated physical features has been harmful)

I am doing a presentation when i give my defense--may I use this as an illustration? Completely personal use, either way thank you! :)
Eurwentala Featured By Owner May 1, 2015
Yeah, sure. :)
It would be nice if you can include my name in some corner.
WagginKennelClub Featured By Owner May 1, 2015  Hobbyist
Wow thank you so much! :D I'd definitely add your name, it would be an honour!  I was going to try and sketch something myself--the actual wolf to a bulldog or something--but showing the skulls is much more compelling and interesting and is something I wouldn't be able to sketch!  Thank you again! :squee:
Guyverman Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2014
This deviation brings this to mind :…
thediremoose Featured By Owner Edited Nov 2, 2014
If you check out some of the primitive rat-weasel creatures that were ancestral to dogs, like Hesperocyon from 40-35 million years ago, you'll note that dogs started out as rat-weasels, evolved into badass wolves, and then humans showed up and turned them back into rat-weasels.

Actually, Hesperocyon would fit pretty well in between the second and third skulls you listed.
Helixdude Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Even though said overly exaggerated genetic traits do cause serious health problems they are still a fascinating case of how humans have managed to drastically alter the appearance of an animal in a few thousand years compared too millions of years of natural evolution. Top notch effort as usual Euwentala!
Yo-dra Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I absolutely do not support such inbreeding or anatomy altered to the point where health is not possible, but I would like to bring up what I think is an interesting point (particularly with regards to your article) - humans themselves are the result of neotenous mutations. All human beings have what would be considered major neotenous characteristics in our closest relatives, the great apes. 

I think it's very interesting that we tend to, even subconsciously, alter animals to be more like us. 
BeadyEyedGirl Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Look at the mess we made :\
Mattoosaurus Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
And that's why I prefer dogs more wolf like in appearance like german shepard  sand cattle dogs my fav breed is lab/ german shepard mix mutts r better
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.
Traheripteryx 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. 
Yo-dra Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I agree with you whole-heartedly!
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"?
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
No. You have a link to that?
Jdailey1991 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014
It was there on a College Humor video, but now it's gone.
PinesongWolf Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Ugh, these health sacrificing mutations are awful. Two thumbs way up for the primal dog type.
digi-order Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013
I think probably the best example of the snout mutations would be bulldogs. They practically have no snout period, just a stump that they can hardly breathe or smell through.

*sigh* Dogs are made for function, not vanity guys please stopp.
TitanoRex Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013
Oh the folly of it!
CarolinaLang Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Yeah I like dogs that actually look like dogs, e.g. don't have a fucked up snout or elongated back etc haha. I have border collies, favourite breed as well as shepherds. 
The-Last-Sea-Serpent Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013
Yet another reason why I'm glad my dog is a mutt.
girlonwantedposters Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013
What about pugs and bulldogs? They pretty much dont have a snout. 
In fact, bulldogs cant even breed without human help because their genetics makes their hips too small for momma dogs to give birth. 
FabrizioDeRossi Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Thanks for making this, it makes me sick to see what humanity has done to domestic animals with inbreeding.
TheBattyCrow Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This turned out very informative^^
I remember turning pages through this Guide for Dog Owners, and the vast majority of the breeds I viewed ALL had some kind of problem later in life - hip dysplasia, eyes problems, etc. I was horrified!

A friend of mine owns a Shih-Tzu, and while I say he is a cute li'l bugger, I always found Shih-Tzus... creepy :giggle:

The running commentary is (disturbingly) comedic :O_o:
AnimalLover12411 Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh gosh, that Chihuahua skull is terrifying... My chihuahua actually looks kind of like a miniature wolf, and hasn't had any health problems, but that might just be me. Those little hairless ones are quite scary though... and our friends have two shih-tsu, and they freak me out. and one of then has had nose surgery, yet still snorts everywhere...
Kazuma27 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Very, VERY creepy if you think about it...
josephmatthew10 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013
I suppose my late miniature schnauzer must've been from a working line. He was purebred, for sure, but for ten years he could've cleared the rats from the castle of any German nobleman. If the rats didn't scare him. Or if he wasn't napping.
Eurwentala Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013
Maybe. And even show lines do produce dogs that live a long and healthy life, even though many others don't. At least schnauzers aren't among the more extreme breeds.

My parents have a show line giant schnauzer. She has a fantastic personality, but far too many health problems for her age.
Zanizaila Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome. But that Pekingese's snout is still longer than what you'll often see. Same goes for English and French bulldogs, and Pugs, their snouts are completely gone, while that Pekingese seems to have a couple of centimeters left.

There seems to be two reasons for shortening dogs faces. And it's pretty ironic.

One, as you depicted, is to make them "cewt". Small snout, short face, large eyes, deep stop and large braincase makes them look baby-like.
(I saw an x-ray of a pug skull that looked disturbingly like a human infant skull. Except with sharper, deformed teeth.)

The other (and this is the irony), is to make them look more dangerous and menacing, in the "macho" dogs. The first was the English and French bulldog. Then came the Boxer, and the Bullmastiff, and Dogue de Bordeaux, and even the Cane Corso, Rottweiler and Ca de Bou (my breed) are going down that line.
Shorter, wider snout looks "stronger", longer, thinner snout like on a sighthound, looks "weak". Add to that a thick skull and deep stop, it looks "strong". Until you end up with the deformed skull of a modern Bulldog or Boxer.

It's such a shame.
Eurwentala Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013
Yeah, one commenter here was actually saying something along the lines that luckily not all dogs are paedomorphic, some are big and strong and awesome, mentioning some sort of a mastiff or bulldog as an example. Umm, no. Paedomorphism isn't always connected with size.

I still wonder how on Earth people think these obviously unhealthy dogs are beautiful or cute. Then again, I don't think human infants are cute either, so maybe the fault is in me. :D
barish-ki-boond Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh goodness. Completely agree with you here. Specially on the infant part. Honestly, when I look at the snub muzzled or short snouted dog, I don't see much character there either.
seven11ART Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you for making this :) 
GilPires Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013
GhostInThePines Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
And showing breeding makes things worse... there are a lot of dog breeds out there that came about for hunting/herding/working purposes. They were bred for their instincts, not their looks. And then all of these American dog shows start pushing dog breeders to prize at aesthetics over instinct. So you get all of these new anatomy distortions that are based on fads instead of purpose. It sucks!

My father bought a Llewelian setter back when I was still in high school. She's field-bred, meaning she has a shorter, thinner coat more suited to hunting, not the overly-fluffy coat of a show dog. I remember the first time we took her to the vet's office, the vet tech wrote "setter mix" on the paperwork, and we had to correct her. She had never seen a field-bred setter before! I was rather ticked off by the whole thing... stupid show dog fads!
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