Friday, July 29, 2011

Qualzucht 2

I have recently been involved in some discussions about why people breed distorted animals for "fun"(ie, shows). Please understand: I emphatically do not want governmental restrictions on breeders. But I do want (a) a bit of common sense and (b) some comprehension of why people do it. Here is what my feeble mind has come up with so far:

I think there are two possible non- exclusive analogies or possibly drives. One is our (universal animal-- or at least VISUAL animal) evolutionary tendency to choose the exaggerated, exemplified by the birds who choose oversized dramatically marked eggs to their own or realistic ones; also possibly by female sexual selection of exaggerated male ornament--?

The other just came to me last night: "qualzucht" might be akin to Anorexia, where individuals who are starving themselves to death look in the mirror and think they are fat. The seed for this idea came when I read about and saw videos of breeders with frog- legged dysplastic GSD's and hydrocephalic King Charles spaniels insisting their dogs were better and more beautiful than healthy dogs. And it occurred to me, as I watched in disbelief : they were sincere, AND THEY BELIEVED IT.

And example number two: a historical engraving of a barb pigeon, from Darwin's Variation; one of my own virtually identical barbs; and a modern show barb. Aaack!


Heather Houlahan said...

Thank you for the new vocabulary word. I promise to use it irresponsibly.

Retrieverman said...

I've been debating on who the biggest villains are: the ones who come up with Qualzucht laws or the ones who worship in Qualzucht as kind of religious belief.

Both are bad in my book.

But both feed off the moves of their nemesis.

Steve Bodio said...

Retrieverman, all I can say is that I agree about 150%!

"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right"...?

Dave said...

It's sad the concept of qualzucht has to be invented because what seems to be commonsense isn't commonsense.

Granted, commonsense is really just shared experiences within a generation. Unfortunately people forgot what "normal" dogs are supposed to be; so what should be commonsense are usually codified into laws.

And as a result, unexpected horribles come from such passings. I shudder to think what will happen if these laws hit our side of the pond.

Bjarne´s aquarium blogg said...

Well what about competitons and winning.Regardless of how stupid/bizare the thing you are competing in?

Anonymous said...

I think such aesthetic views come from people farther and farther removed from Nature and functional life--did Anorexia even exist in former times? Beauty to me(human AND animal) has to be FUNCTIONAL first, or it just ain't purty. If it can't function/move/breathe/mate/hunt normally, then I view it as DEFORMED, and that is not beautiful. It would be interesting to do a study on the economical and cultural backgrounds of such deformed-thinking folks--I bet you'd find they all had a lot in common that way--and living close to Nature and reality wouldn't be part of their lifestyles or outlooks.....L.B.

Max Inclined said...

That last pidge looks more like it's got a hideous case of frounce or avian pox. Can it even see?

Jess said...

People very frequently see what they want to see, whatever supports their own personal view. My look at the history of the Afghan hound in the West proves that, in fact, I read an old article recently where an early fancier claims there are no plains in Afghanistan, therefore the so-called desert type could not be an 'Afghan hound.' Um, what?

I think with the kind of breeding that you are talking about, the concept of 'sculpting flesh' leaves out the essential: that the flesh is living. I don't think there's any other way to look at it. When my dad snorts and coughs in his sleep, it's disturbing, because he has sleep apnea. Why is it cute when a pug does it? There's a disconnect there.

Steve Bodio said...

Max-- when they are older they don't see well, can't feed young, and are prone to colds etc. Mine are not!

Jess: "living", yes-- good point.

Anonymous said...

Oh gee - what can I say about the "extremes" to which some breeds/breeders have pushed their quest for "showring" perfection? I'm prone to believe that in most breeds, the extent and frequency of the exaggerations are exaggerated ... my exception in point would be the German Shepherd Dog and even in that breed ring, I'm beginning to see some evidence of a return to sanity .... I also believe that some of the distortions we've seen among toy breeds are lessening to an extent ... I think that "pug-nosed' breeds tend to end up in trouble when people who are not knowledgeable about showing dogs, or breeding them believe they can breed Muffin and George and make a little money from the endeavor. Done on a large scale basis over a period of time this is going to prove troublesome with any species of animal. We can see the same sources of unsoundness in horses as a case in point ...

Now, on to Jess - the comment on the "desert type" of Afghan Hound brings a sympathetic eye because I've had the same discussion recently in an online forum which should have been populated by people who knew better, but obviously have no grasp of the concept of "Central Asian" terrain. Some were astounded by my contention that Afghanistan is not a totally mountainous country populated by Snow Leopards, and others were astonished to learn that the Himalayas have any relationship to Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush - Tibet or the Silk Road? Forget that ... some other place entirely. I think that I may have turned a life changing corner with that discussion - can you imagine that I am, after all these years, a "fancier" who holds that there may be no such thing as an "Afghan Hound" at all? And, adding insult to injury, I suggested that those people who are morally evolved to the point they're disdainful of hunting should just stop bragging that their Afghan Hounds were used to "hunt Leopards."

Lady with the strange black dogs.

River P said...

"I emphatically do NOT want government restrictions on breeders"

I don't understand this. Im trying to understand this but you don't give a reason for why you should think like this.

I come across this sentiment quite a lot, primarily coming from Americans. Is this something to do with how government is run in America, the political system in place? Why?

Surely for example legislation that states a dog may not be purposely bred so that it cannot breathe naturally.... would be a good thing? The legislation giving breeders X amount of years to put their house in order etc.

What is the fear?