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New breeds--pros and cons

Cygnet
September 8th, 2006, 01:16 PM
I wanted to branch out from the specifics of the "miniature dalmatians" thread to talk in general about the creation of new breeds of dog. In general, I hate the notion.

I can't say that I absolute am against the notion, because if somebody found a litter of mixed breeds at a shelter who actually consistently could fill a completely unique and useful niche (and no, "being really cute" doesn't cut it) , I can't say that I would be against breeding them to see if the trait could be stabilized and a breed established. For example, if you (somehow) figured out that every dog in a particular mixed breed litter had saliva that could cure the new strain of killer tuberculosis, I would certainly suggest that they be kept around and bred, to get more lifesaving antibiotic saliva. Or (perhaps more realistically) if you discovered that every dog in a mixed breed litter had scenting abilities ten times that of any bloodhound, then it would probably be worthwhile to explore the possibilities of breeding them to preserve that trait to better find lost children in the woods.

But that is NOT why people create new breeds, in my experience. There are two common motives for the average New Breed Creator--Ego and Money. Ego comes into play because they want to be the next Louis Dobermann, and because their dog, and only their dog, is the best dog in the world and needs to be genetically reproduced. Money, well...not too many "new breed" creators actually make money, I would guess, but most of them think that they will. Plus, I suppose, there is a sucker born every minute and a lot of them will fall for the lying hype new breed creators are so good at spewing.

People who say that all breeds were once new breeds, are, of course, correct. But every breed ever created came with a price--and that price was the lives of thousands of dogs who were culled because they weren't what the breeder wanted for the breed. (Few breeds other than dobermans are the vision of only one person, of course, but breeds such as border collies were created because of a shared vision of lots of sheep owners). Back in the good old days when border collies and bloodhounds and scottish deerhounds and (I suspect) even dobermans were created, breeders were a lot less squeamish about culling the puppies/dogs who didn't come close to the vision (now codified in standards), by hitting them over the head or drowning them. In REALLY old times, the culls were probably served for dinner.

But probably most of us aren't thrilled by the notion of killing a lot of dogs just to make a "better" breed. (Absent some REALLY compelling reason, as explained above). People will say "well, the dogs that don't make it as breeding stock in the process of designing the breed can be spayed/neutered and placed in pet homes." Of course this is true, but every responsible pet home that is taken up by the Breed Designer's culls (for what purpose?) is one less responsible home available for a great shelter dog who will die as a result.

So, unless the creator of a "new breed" can articulate a reason for that breed to exist that outweighs the fact that a lot of dogs had to die to enable the breed to be created, I am strongly against it. And, during my lifetime at least, in my opinion nobody has passed that test.

Prin
September 8th, 2006, 02:38 PM
I think this issue had been discussed to death whenever somebody posts about buying a puggle or a schnoodle or whatever.:o

rainbow
September 8th, 2006, 03:28 PM
I agree. It's like 100% overload. ;)

Cygnet
September 8th, 2006, 05:43 PM
Anybody who feels overloaded with this topic certainly shouldn't push themselves to participate in discussing it, but I do have to note that there are reasons not to breed "schnoodles" and "puggles," but that they are VERY different than the reasons not to create new breeds.

The breeders of schnoodles and puggles don't seem to have any reasonable aspirations to develop breeds, as far as I can tell. Puggles are F1 crosses between pugs and beagles, with a reasonably consistent look. However, if you breed a puggle to a puggle, you will get a whole mishmash of looks and temperaments, from very beaglish to very puggish (if either of those adjectives exist). There will be absolutely no predictability and puggles will not breed true. This puggles are properly crossbreds, not a "breed" since part of being a breed is reproducing the parents with reasonable predictability.

Thus, there really isn't any significant movement to start an actual puggle (or schnoodle) BREED. It is mostly breeders who are very satisfied with selling mutts to people at high prices.

In contrast, there is at least a subset of labradoodle breeders and even cockapoo breeders who seem intent on creating a breed. That is, they want to produce labradoodles that, when bred to other labradoodles, produce dogs that look labradoodlish. As far as I know, this hasn't quite happened yet. A lot of F2 and F3 labradoodles look far more like poodles or (more often, it seems) labs than they do like first generation "labradoodles."

But this thread isn't really about all these designer dogs (puggles, schnoodles, etc) which are intentional crossbreds but not designed to be the foundation of a new breed. It is about folks who are thinking of starting new breeds entirely

LM1313
September 8th, 2006, 06:08 PM
I think if there's a legitimate reason for a new breed, where it fulfills a unique task, it's fine. But not, as you say, because "Awww, when I cross a great dane with a chihuahua, I get an adorable, huge chihuahua!" ;)

If the new breed is being used for a specific purpose like herding or such, I think it's in the best interest NOT to register it with the AKC or similar organizations. These things seem to follow a pattern . . . farmers/hunters use Breed X for herding/hunting. Breed X becomes AKC registered. Gradually the show dogs of Breed X lose their herding/hunting instincts. Farmers/hunters eventually develop their own strain of the breed which is vastly different from the show version and could never win in the ring, despite fulfilling Breed X's original purpose much better than the show dogs.

English setters differ so much from field dogs to show dogs that the field dogs are often called "Llewellin setters" as if they're a completely different breed. In many hunting breeds, dual champions (of conformation and field) are scarce, if not non-existant. Some border collie lines have already been "dumbed down" so that they're beautiful animals, but lack the herding instincts that defines their breed. Alaskan huskies, which aren't a true "breed", but are sled dogs outcrossed with hounds, setters, and anything else dog sledders think would improve them, outperform their purebred relative, the Siberian husky. Serious mushers wouldn't dream of using a real Siberian husky; the mushers are breeding purely for performance and have achieved a better dog because of it.

Again, this only applies to dogs bred for a "purpose", not dogs who are just pets without a "job".

Angies Man
September 8th, 2006, 08:19 PM
It ain't that easy.

Creating a new breed that breeds true takes many generations, both human and animal. If I breed a Great Dane with a Great Dane, chances are pretty good I'll get Great Dane pups. If I breed a small G-D with a small G-D, SOME of the pups are going to be full sized and maybe some MIGHT be small. Tho small size in the offspring may have been due to environmental influences such as diet, in vitro disease, post partum disease, etc.

If I find another small G-D (different pedigree lines to minimize inbreeding) to eventually breed with my smaller G-D pups, big Dane genes still are present and some of the pups will still be big. Getting smaller (as only one example) would require careful breeding for many generations--and you can't just breed sisters to brothers, or even cousins to cousins, because then negative genetic features (blindness, deafness, and other genetic diseases) will assert themselves. So you have to keep finding small Danes to breed your small line of Danes to. And still big Danes will show up in the lines.

And while your breeding for size, you've got to be careful that you're not breeding in genetic diseases. Even with a varied gene pool. It's not something I would attempt even with a fairly unlimited budget. Messing with the gene pool is like playing russian roulette. Sooner or later the gene pool gun is going to go off and make a mess. Cleaning up the mess is not pleasant.

We had an argument the other day about culling--playing with the gene pool DEMANDS culling, because some of the results are not fit for even companion quality pets.

jesse's mommy
September 8th, 2006, 08:37 PM
Cygnet, what are you really trying to get at with your posts?

White Wolf
September 8th, 2006, 10:51 PM
This topic has been discussed at length several times very recently and will now be closed.
Here is one of the recent ones. Take a look and you will get a good grasp of how people feel about new breeds: http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=29816
And another with useful information:
http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=12252