Saturday, 15 September 2012

The grim reality of Bulldog sex



This is what's known as a "natural mating" in Bulldogs (distinct, that is, from artificial insemination).

Do they ever give rohypnol to dogs?

From SOS DOG: The Purebred Dog Hobby Re-examined by Johan and Edith Gallant.

"Most of the breeders are very well aware of fertility cycles, and a bitch that finds herself close to the eleventh day is often loaded in a car destined to the breeder’s idea of her perfect mate. Since time equals money, it is expected from the bitch that, on arrival, she courteously concedes her rump to the male and lifts her tail out of the way to enable a rapid and uncomplicated mating. Should the bitch, on arrival, refuse advances from the male, she will be characterised as dangerous. Most often she will then be escorted to a small enclosure, have her muzzle tied-up and have her body held still, ready to be mounted by the “mating machine.” 

"It is amazing how many breed speciality books advise the newcomers and aspiring breeders about the dangers of mating. The unwilling bitch could bite the stud dog and ruin him for life! Once the stud has penetrated and the genital lock or tie is effective, a restless bitch could remain agitated tot he point that the penile bone causes internal damage or breaks! The authors of such books then advise that the bitch should be muzzled at arrival by tying a silk stocking or pantyhose around her snout and behind her ears, that she should be help up so that the male can easily mount her and that she should be firmly restrained from turning her head back and from growling at the stud. Once the active part of the mating is over, the the owner of the male should carefully lift one of its hind legs over the back of the bitch so that they stand backside to backside, and they should both be restrained until the end of the genital lock and thereupon be separated without allowing further contact between the two partners.

"Theoretically speaking, the sperm cells have found their way to the ova and all is well that ends well. This is rape, and what the deep consequences of such an act could be on an animal that genetically has been programmed for reproductive behaviour within its social group, has not provoked one criticism. 

"It remains a fact that for highly social animals, such as dogs, a 'par force' inducted mating can precipitate enormous stress on the female. Dogs are highly susceptible to stress. In nature and in domesticated dogs, too, stress plays an evolutionary role. It fosters an unyeilding condition or atmossphere ie a condition in which reproduction would best be interrupted or terminated. Therefore, stress can cause the failure of coming in season, re-absorption of the fetus, premature birth or stillborn pups. When a mating is enforced on a bitch with human assistance (it would not happen without) we create a stress situation where the detrimental consequences are beyond calculation. Such a scenario is not only detrimental to the bitch, it actually also works in favor of stud dogs without guts i.e. Those that lack the natural sexual behavioural patterns dictating courtship and the necessary convincing attitude and drive to mate. Human assistance not only tolerates but also encourages males that in nature would never stand a chance to mate. Of course such matings may produce the desired color, the chiseled head that one is after or improve on any of the external features described in the breed standard, but the chances that it is instrumental in improving mental stability and true canine behaviour is remote.
 

"Because 'par force' inducted mating brings two individuals together that most likely would not mate under natural conditions, the offspring that they produce are in fact contrary to nature and improvement of the breed concerned. When we are faced in modern dogdom with an endless list of complications in canine reproductive behaviour and with general behavioural disorders, their origins can be found to a large extent in human-induced mating, which in many cases has been applied over consecutive generations."


64 comments:

  1. As the breeder of an uncommon breed that is spread out across North America, I acknowledge the great value of our new ability to both ship fresh semen from a faraway stud, and bank the genetics of an outstanding male individual. (Especially since I support breeding older males, and our dogs often do somewhat dangerous work.)

    That said -- I will not artificially breed a bitch or a male (or use an outside male) who does not court, mate, and conceive or engender naturally and without "manual assistance."

    In other words, first matings, at least, must be natural and unassisted and result in puppies.

    Then, for a bitch's second litter, or a stud's later-in-life progeny, I'd consider shipping the goods. Though thus far I've always traveled with my bitch.

    She's always considered her suitor's charming courtship displays, responded in-kind (or in one case, laid on the slutty for a somewhat self-conscious boy) and conceived pups at the optimal time.

    If one of my smart, primal girls refused a male, I'd listen to her.

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  2. Ack, how depressing......

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  3. This article seems to be advocating 'love' (or at least 'lust') matings, and ruling out matings where the dog and bitch don't have a bit of courtship and the bitch accepts the dog. I see this as an animal rights position, with anthropogenic use of the word 'rape', and little scientific basis. There may, indeed, be cruelly forced matings, but those are the exception. In general, 'arranged' matings, done by breeders according to a plan, are not cruel. Arranged matings are the basis of all domestication. I accept that the extremes may be cruel, and see the inability of some breed or another to do natural matings as an indicator of unacceptable exaggeration of conformation. But I don't see reason to attack the normal practices of supporting the bitch and guiding the dog.

    In my experience, supporting the bitch and holding / guiding the dog is not stressful to the bitch. I used to use a nearby kennel that had several quality studs. They always had me hold the girl, while the kennel owner held the dog. On the occasions where I brought a girl back there for a second time, she would wine, wag, squeal and carry on like it was a visit to a favorite place.

    Bitches don't necessarily make good selections. My girls (Labs) are un-selective. They get flitry when in season, and would be happy to mate with their sire, or their puppy . . . basically, first come first serve. I had a neighbor, also a breeder, whose best bitch (Rotti) would attack any dog who tried to mount her. If I let my girls roam free to pick their mates where I live now, I'd probably end out with pit bull cross pups, cause most of the un-neutered dogs in this neighborhood are pit bulls.

    Requiring a love match makes it difficult for people who want to plan matings based on health, temperament, and to avoid inbreeding. Say, for example, I want a dog with very good hip and elbow scores, and clear stats on other health tests, and a proven worker to boot. There is no such dog nearby who isn't related to my girl, but some great options at the other side of the continent. I am not willing to travel thousands of km with the bitch and spend a week in some location in order to do a mating. I did so, I'd not want turn around and go home if the girl didn't take a shine to the dog, or change my breeding plan because the girl seemed to prefer some other dog in the stud dog kennel.

    Chilled or frozen semen is a practical alternative. In my days as a breeder (in Western Australia) I organized something like 10 'matings' using chilled semen sent from the Eastern states. The girls were always enthusiastic about letting the vet do her job . . . the vet I used was gentle and gave the girl a bit of message.

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  4. I posted the excerpt because I think Johan Gallant makes a point that is worth considering - albeit in emotive language. He is, by the way, a former exhibitor, breeder and judge of Giant Schnauzers:

    http://www.amazon.com/World-Schnauzers-Standard-Giant-Miniature/dp/0931866936/ref=la_B001JRXC8A_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347734530&sr=1-1

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  5. Pit bull cross pups sound great. Better than a wheezing bulldog that'll be dead in five years.

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    1. Pit bull X Labrador is a dog you'll have a hard time giving away. Purebred Labs with good breeding are much sought-after.

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    2. I doubt it. There are a couple such dogs round where I live, and they are very popular and desirable.

      Not everyone wants a closed registry dog. Not everyone wants to pay for a breeder's vanity. Lots of us just want a nice dog.

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    3. you will be lucky if your "pit bull" cross is not picked up and killed by the local "authorities" have you never heard of breed specific legislation England has it.. those dogs would be impounded and killed..in many places in the UK and USA
      something the author chooses to ignore..

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    4. We don't really have many pitbulls in the UK. We have plenty of staffies though, though I appreciate it's a gradation of type, rather than a fixed taxonomy.

      Either way, crosses won't get picke up by BSL in the UK. All the more the reason to cross, cross, cross. No more pitbulls, no more disease-riddled closed registry dogs, no more pandering to show breeders' vanity. Happy dogs, happy owners, happy toddlers, everyone who matters wins.

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    5. Please please no advocating of Pit Bull/Staffy/Bull breed crosses being bred with anything - rescues are groaning under the weight of these dogs which no-one wants. This is the real tragedy at the moment together with all the sickly puppy farmed pedigree and 'designer' crosses. I fully support all the efforts to make show breeders ensure they're breeding healthy stock, but it's a drop in the ocean compared to what's happening in the real world.

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    6. "We don't really have many pitbulls in the UK. We have plenty of staffies though, though I appreciate it's a gradation of type, rather than a fixed taxonomy."

      A staffordshire terrier is a pit bull... Pit bull is a type of dog, and staffordshires are heavily related to if not the same thing as the APBT if you go by american lines and pedigree. So at least in the US, a "pit bull" is a staffordshire (American or English) or a APBT and any of their close crosses.

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    7. According to the law in the UK the staffy is NOT a pit bull. The Pit Bull banned in the UK is the breed Pit Bull Terrier, otherwise it would be illegal to own a Staffy which it is not.
      However, by mixing Staffs with larger breeds a dog which looks like a Pit Bull often results. These are not illegal dogs, but may suffer prejudice under our current law because they look like one.

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  6. The bull dog thing is a problem, because their conformation makes natural mating all but impossible.

    I regret to inform you, however, that "rape" is very common in the natural world. New herd stallions will sometimes rape non-receptive mares to try to force them to abort existing foals. I believe it's common in some geese and ducks. Monkeys. All sorts of animals.

    So I'm really not comfortable with the suggestion that this is something unnatural that WE bring upon them. I don't know whether or not it's been observed in canids, but the fact is that in a natural situation the animals would be allowed to have lots of time together and males would fight each other for the right to breed. There is so much of normal copulatory behavior that we would just not tolerate among our pets. Moreover, many higher animals learn about mating by watching their elders, something else our pets may never see. It's not surprising that dogs don't always stand to be mated, and I'm not sure it's so horrific that we restrain them to encourage the process. It's pretty routine among horse breeders who do live covers to hobble the mare so she can't kick, for instance.

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    1. Not sure about other domestic animals, but in canine species that form packs, a pack consists of a breeding pair formed after a male successfully courts a female (a process that usually involves ritualized play) and their pups.

      Domestic dogs, on the other hand, usually just get busy. This is probably a by-product of humans wanting to form large groups of unrelated animals that wouldn't constantly fight. By the way, the concept of "Alpha" came about as a result of studies on captive "wolf packs" consisting of as many unrelated wolves as they could cram in an enclosure. The constant bickering and other unnatural behavior incorrectly influenced biologists and dog trainers for years.

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    2. "I believe it's common in some geese and ducks".

      It is VERY common in mallards, some are in fact half dead when they are brought in to us to be nursed back to health. I am guessing they had the strength at the time to escape what was happening to them.

      However, I have yet to see one come in with its beak tied up with a pair of stockings.

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    3. you only see the "half dead " ones the dead ones are not brought in.. they are victims of their drive to reproduce.. dogs would be the same if allowed.. many dead ones..

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    4. Yes selection "au naturale".

      The countryside strewn with English bulldogs that tried to mate with one of it's own kind and failed due to exhaustion or possibly dystocia, the breed dwindling to those few that can. Thank God for humans.

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  7. LOL "Bulldog Sex'.. please... no other lewd or ridiculous topics for this week.. gone off your game ?
    Dogs do not "have sex" they mate. We as their owners choose how and when to mate them. The object is to have puppies.. not to court woo or "marry" the other dog.. we are breeding dogs.. not giving our daughters away in marriage
    Jennifer has it right.Beth too. nuff said.
    John and Edith Gallant are know animal rights supporters.. their idea of breeding dogs in NOT to do it at all.
    The fact that you used them as a resource denigrates your "street cred"
    The first paragraph alone is utterly a falsehood. most dogs will not breed a bitch that is not ready.. the penile bone staying soft and pliable and the surrounding tissue not engorged... and refusing to have sex ( racy enough for you?)
    Characterized as "dangerous" as we say in the USA WTF are they talking about?
    The "mating machine".. thanks I have the name for my next stud dog.. Love it..
    also they need a proof erader:
    "The authors of such books then advise that the bitch should be muzzled at arrival by tying a silk stocking or pantyhose around her snout and behind her ears, that she should be help up so that the male can easily mount "

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    1. I'd love to see some support for your assertion that John and Edith Gallant are against all dog breeding...

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    2. 'Mating' is a synonym of 'sex' which is, by definition, the act of sexual intercourse, which is what dogs do. whether the owners have decided upon it or not it's still 'sex'. When they are 'mating' it is synonymous to 'having sex'.
      Any connotations of 'marriage', 'wooing' or 'lewdness' are not to be derived from the word 'sex' but from your own apparent associations with the word 'sex'.
      Granted, if saying that what your dogs are doing is 'mating' makes you feel more secure than the idea of them 'having sex' then that's a fine personal preference you've got there, but it's just that- a personal preference of terminology- and can't really be brought to bare as a criticism of this article, as both terms are acceptable for what is occurring in the images and what is being addressed in this article.

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  8. Beth, I´m not sure you are 100% right here. Maybe your knowledge is much greater than mine, but a "serial rapist" stallion is a thing I´ve never heard of in my life and my guess would be that such a lad lives a dangerous life - any mare in her right mind would kick his legs off. In fact, any stallion with a bit of common sense would know better than to try!
    I agree that Johan Gallant´s language is emotive. If he´s seen and heard a lot about enforced breeding during his years in dogdom, maybe that explains it.
    No one surely disagrees with use of frozen semen. The point is another. Courting and mating behaviour are important pieces of the inheritable programme for social behaviour. A dog that can´t approach and court a bitch in a manner that is agreeable to that bitch should not have offspring. Argue all you want about horse-breeding practices, if your prime concern is the fastest horse or the best show-jumper you may disregard stuff like temperament and normal social behaviour. In a dog expected to play with your kids and be nice to your granny´s dog, you don´t disregard it.

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    1. "No one surely disagrees with use of frozen semen."

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it the KC is against artificial insemination (AI). Don't you have to get permission and declare special circumstances to get an AI litter registered? This seems stupid. It cuts ordinary breeders (as opposed to those who can afford to travel overseas to do a mating) off from accessing the broader genetic spectrum available in the rest of the world.

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    2. I can't help wondering if the KC do this because they have no control over the process and therefore cannot generate any revenue from AI, the collection and storage of semen alone is a specialised process and ineffective if not done correctly, admittedly my knowledge of this is with farming livestock but what I find interesting is that there is not one central group for all sheep, each breed has its own society who take individual responsibly for the registries of that breed etc this is the case for cows and horses also, for our breed what is also very positive is that all registered breeding stock data is publicly available online, this allows the breeder to do their research before breeding, it can sometimes feel like the kennel club is a secret society and there is much room for improvement

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    3. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it the KC is against artificial insemination (AI). Don't you have to get permission and declare special circumstances to get an AI litter registered?"

      Happy to correct you, Jennifer. :) The KC allows the use of AI when the potential sire lives overseas, but not ehwhen the dog is resident in the UK. This is sensible practice to try to ensure that only dogs and bitches with normal libido reproduce. Natural matings are (as I'm sure you'll agree) the best for the health of a species.

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    4. Bodil --

      "Courting and mating behaviour are important pieces of the inheritable programme for social behaviour. A dog that can´t approach and court a bitch in a manner that is agreeable to that bitch should not have offspring."

      Precisely. Mating is a social behavior, and the ability to do so socially as well as physically does not exist or fail to exist as some sort of unrelated behavior module that is unrelated to other social behavior. Just as, anecdotally, animals that have a ton of fertility issues seem to rarely be robustly healthy otherwise.

      In addition, we have the (un)self-replicating issue of inherited sexual incompetence as the norm. It doesn't seem to take long to get there -- that's the point about the bulldogs. I suspect that is because there aren't a lot of genetic behavioral checks against what would be a "lethal" (in the sense of passing on one's genes) behavioral defect in any natural state. Animals that can't figure out how to get it on by themselves just don't leave offspring.

      Or to put it bluntly, I don't "help" a sexually incompetent dog make babies because I don't relish the idea of having to do it every time I want puppies, forever. Whatever form that "help" might take.

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    5. "Happy to correct you, Jennifer. :) The KC allows the use of AI when the potential sire lives overseas, but not ehwhen the dog is resident in the UK. This is sensible practice to try to ensure that only dogs and bitches with normal libido reproduce. Natural matings are (as I'm sure you'll agree) the best for the health of a species."

      as if anyone would know if you did a "real mating" or did a side by side AI.folks it is not that complicated..look at "turkey baster real babies". as for the "health of a species".. I think you mean the health of the BREED not the species as their is no shortage of dogs.. ( canis familiaris)
      If you can collect a male when he is next to the bitch .. who cares..
      and Heather.. some dogs will mate naturally sometimes.. and not others..so your idea of "forever" is not accurate.

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    6. @ adding on Jennifer. Even if artificial insemination would be considered a controversial situation. If someday we were to fix and lower all the rates of horrible illness in pedigree dogs. Possibly we save the sperm and eggs from all of the healthy dogs within their breeds. Perhaps if Illness were to arise again we could artificial inseminate the healthy breeds with eggs and sperms from other healthy breeds. What about cloning healthy dogs only?. It would be controversial. But this could be a thought. What are the pros and cons? All in all it would save a lot of time and pressing piles of work.

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  9. Bodil, I don't think I mentioned a "serial rapist" stallion, but forced/harassed copulations of already pregnant mares have been noted in several equine species (zebras, horses) when a new band stallion takes over; it can induce abortion and make the mare receptive to mating.

    My point being that such things should not be looked at in cultural terms. If dogs lived lives like wolves, they would choose their own mates, fight for food and shelter and resources so that only the most fit survived, be subject to disease pressure, and likely have repeat matings with the same pair.

    Suggesting that females should get the final say in their own mate is a bit iffy. I've known females to stand for a neutered male (and the male can tie) and as someone noted, they will stand for their own father/son etc. That seems indicative of nothing. We have NOT selected dogs for natural social systems; feral dogs rarely form packs and have very low puppy survival rates. So I'm not sure how letting the bitch determine who she does or does not mate with would prove much of anything. If her bestest live-in buddy is a neutered male and she takes a fancy to him, should we just allow them to do the deed? SImilarly, if a young bitch does not want to mate with ANYONE because she is young and has not seen mating behavior and is scared, should we just write her off? And if dog and bitch have trouble finding the mark, so to speak, should we just shrug and call it a day?

    That's not how domestication works. We have not really selected for courting behavior (which in most animals involves finding territories with sufficient food, nesting/denning behavior, etc). We have removed the need for animals to be required to be "good providers" in order to be successful producers. Indeed, the very fact that we have selected dogs (of necessity) to maintain juvenile behaviors throughout life virtually ensures that some of them will be goofy and immature about sexual behavior. Since it's a problem that lacks a realistic answer, I don't think that helping along the process is horrific. If a leash and silk stocking will keep the bitch quiet enough for mating, then she's not really fighting that hard against it, is she? A leash and silk stocking certainly won't hold a truly panicked or enraged dog unless it's a tiny toy.

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    1. Beth,

      My point being that we do breed dogs for their social behaviour; without it, their hunting or herding or guarding or tracking abilities are simply of no use to us. If they cannot interact socially with us, they´re all feral. Right?

      Therefore we should beware of any practice that doesn´t allow for a demonstration of inborn social competence. Just as I would not breed (or buy the offspring of) a dog or bitch that shows no anger inhibition when meeting a young puppy, I would not consider a dog that doesn´t know how to patiently court a bitch.
      It´s not a matter of cultural terms but of common sense.

      Regarding a love affair between a neutered male and a bitch - if the male is neutered, surely it´s the one time I need not worry about a unplanned mating? :-)
      And that unexperienced young bitch who is in mid-season but unsure and a bit afraid, how about an experienced male dog and a day or two together, with supervision and encouragment from owner? Helping along certainly isn´ t horrific.
      But helping along is not a good description of procedures requiring silk stocks and being held down (or up, as in the case of the poor bulldog bitch). Forceful restraint is a very different thing from encouragement, no?

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    2. 'love affair"?? surely you have been reading too much "chick lit" and not enough "farmers almanac"

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    3. Regarding a love affair between a neutered male and a bitch - if the male is neutered, surely it´s the one time I need not worry about a unplanned mating? :-)
      And that unexperienced young bitch who is in mid-season but unsure and a bit afraid, how about an experienced male dog and a day or two together, with supervision and encouragment from owner? Helping along certainly isn´ t horrific.
      But helping along is not a good description of procedures requiring silk stocks and being held down (or up, as in the case of the poor bulldog bitch). Forceful restraint is a very different thing from encouragement, no?

      NO .. I suggest a reading of "Outlander".. LOL as this sounds like something from a romance novel

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    4. Dear Anonymice, sorry to have offended. "Love affair" was intended as a bit of a joke, no more.
      So if I don´t find the idea of restraint appealing,if I think the bitch or mare should have her say in the matter, and if I think that a stallion or a stud dog should have the wits to try a bit of courtship, and a mare or a bitch should have the tinme to accept the overtures - then I´m off into chic lit world and novels?
      You haven´t, then, even once in your lifetime had the chance to follow over a couple of days the courting behavior, where the dog proves his worth by agreeable behaviour and the bitch comes into peak season by his efforts? You´ve never seen a stallion adapt his advances to the response of the mare?
      If not, perhaps you don´t have too much of an idea of what you´re talking about?

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  10. If dogs are unable or unwilling to mate maybe we need to step back from the idea that we do know what’s best (looking at what some ‘breeders’ produce this is questionable anyway) and consider that there in an instinct there that tells us this is not supposed to be.
    Now I also understand that this would make breeding dogs for hobby or profit exponentially harder but let’s consider that this might be a way to get back healthy dogs that are able to reproduce naturally.
    SB

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    1. "we need to step back from the idea that we do know what’s best and consider that there in an instinct there that tells us this is not supposed to be"

      The word 'bitch' has come by its crass meaning because female canines are rarely choosy. Nor, for that matter, are dogs. That's a major contributor to origin of so many dog breeds . . . put a dog and a bitch on heat together and chances are very good that they will mate. Go to any third world city and look at the street dogs. That's what you get if you allow dogs to do their own selection and let nature do the culling. They may be great dogs . . . but try to get a retriever or a hearding dog out of them . . . you won't.

      btw, in species where sexual selection is strong, it often results in extreme conformation that makes the specie less viable in nature. Think peacock, bower bird, Irish elk, and many many species of orchid.

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    2. Jennifer.. try as you may your sensible comments will not be taken seriously here.. this is a blog to trash pure bred dogs.. not to help them..or even support them I suggest you take your excellent thought process and use it it your advantage.. you will get lots of flack here.. and no real "solutions"..not that you need them..you have it all in hand now..
      when you hear legislators talk about natural dogs "roaming for miles is search of a mate" and "chewing through walls to get to a bitch".. and bitches breaking free of all restraints to get "bred".. you can be sure they are talking about people ( often themselves not dogs).. LOL because they know nothing about actual canine behavior.. as many here do not.. those who chose to not use frozen semen.. or AI's and do actually know something/.. well they want you to do the same.. do what is best for you and your breed. forget the rest.
      Nice posts

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    3. Jennifer, I’m not advocating a free for all, removing any breeds and going back to the general mutt.
      I would however suggest that if a breeder gets the chosen pair together and they are unable and or unwilling to do the deed, this is most likely not the perfect match the breeder was seeking.
      As you so well suggested dogs in heat are usually not all that choosey when it comes to mates, hence all the more reason to pay attention of they are refusing.
      SB

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  11. I agree with you in part there SB, if dogs are physically unable to mate without assistance then I'm afraid one cannot hide away from the fact that we have got that breed horribly wrong! this is a natural act that should be able to be carried out unaided (both parties willing) - I do not find myself able to argue either way on wether or not we should or should not assist in order to "get the job done"

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  12. Anon above....... Not all of us on here are anti purebred dog I have two of my own, i am cool with humans selecting an appropriate mate and arranging such a union but dogs should be physically able to get on with the job themselves. what I find astonishing is that those who are so consumed by the fraternity are unwilling to face the facts, do you really think that animals whose conformation has been so distorted leaving them unable to mate and give birth without human intervention is acceptable, are you really thinking about this with a balanced unbiased view with the animals welfare at heart..... Really?

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    1. I agree, there are breeds where extreme conformation makes natural mating, or natural whelping, problematic. The heavy show versions of bulldog and basset come to mind. The need for assisted mating and routine Ceasarians in such cases is one more indication of problems, though in my mind, nowhere so serious as the problems that shorten lifespan, increase veterinary costs, and make it hard for them to WALK naturally. But that's not what the posted article is talking about.

      For the most part, breeders assist matings cause many dogs will play around for hours, causing general havoc around the kennel, if you leave them to cavort around until they get a tie. If the bitch isn't ready, and therefore doesn't stand, you can go for hours and have nothing happen. This is especially true of inexperienced dogs. Another reason for helping, common when a pet is used at stud, is that the dog has been routinely scolded for normal puppy humping behaviours, and has developed complexes that interfere with his natural instincts.

      The article quoted is quatsch. When the bitch refuses to stand and/or growls at the dog when he tries to mount, it is usually because she isn't ready. Any sensible stud owner will recommend that she go away and come back a few days later. You'd have to be a total idiot to declare the bitch dangerous and take measures to force her into submission in order to get a forced mating that would not result in conception. My first bitch growled cause she once had her tail pinned by an overenthusiastic dog (inexperienced dogs can be pretty clumsy). . . she was fine if you handled her in such a way that her tail was safe. . . . the stud kennel completely understood this and worked with it.

      What I don't get is why animal rights people both want to spay and neuter everything and then complain about inability to reproduce. And, if animal rights people were really concerned with dogs enjoying sex, they would give up on spey jobs and advocate the much less radical surgery of tubal ligation, which leaves the bitch hormonally intact, but unable to conceive.

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  13. I'm all in favour of bringing up the problem with bulldogs mating, but the quote in italics is a load of old twaddle. I have never heard of a bitch being muzzled with a 'pantyhose' (an outdated term, possibly an outdated attitude to mating?) so a stud dog can mount her. Responsible breeders minimise the risk of a bitch biting a stud and ruining him by making sure a maiden stud's first few attempts are on experienced bitches who are known to be calm and approachable to males. A maiden bitch is similarly tried first with an experienced stud who will court her politely and not attempt to mount her if she is in a distressed state and doesn't want it. Most stud owners are also perfectly happy and indeed encourage a potential bitch and her owner to visit before she comes in season, so she can meet her intended partner beforehand and play with him so he's not a total stranger when the time comes.

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  14. I agree the language used in the article above is in some ways problematic. It makes it easy to target the language for criticism and thus weakens the argument because it comes across as extreme rather than sensible.

    Go to the Dogstar Daily website and have a look at what Dr Ian Dunbar has to say on this and the related issue of bitches that can't whelp naturally (the two go together in many breeds). Type in the search terms 'eugenics dysgenics' and read the article. For those of you who are tempted to scream the usual 'ARista' insult, this article was originally published in the mouthpiece of that bastion of Animal Rights, The AKC Gazette.

    For those who haven't heard of him and doubt his credentials, do a Google search on Dr. Ian Dunbar.

    I realize there is a bit of art to dog breeding, but it doesn't hurt to pay attention to what real science has to say about it.

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    1. Dr Dunbar says that unassisted mating is a test of temperament: dogs that fail have suspect temperaments and should not be bred. Instinctively I agree, but where is the science? Put it another way, how much assistance should we give before accepting nature's verdict?
      We once took our bitch to the Netherlands for mating. She had all the right instincts, her beau was experienced, their courtship a joy to watch - she running away, all the while looking over her shoulder to make sure he was keeping up; you could almost hear violins playing in the trees. After 3 days we headed home, and on confirming her condition to his owner heard that he had moped afterwards, off his food. But as with humans, mating is not always love's young dream; then practical considerations arise. If she had crossed her legs, or he turned up his nose, would we have just gone off to look at windmills the rest of the trip? I don't think so, not without applying some persuasion first.
      Dog breeders are rather like Asian parents, arranging marriages for their kids. To us in the west our way is instinctively better, though divorce stats say otherwise. It is nice that Dr Dunbar's gut feeling agrees with mine, that if dogs opt out there's probably a good reason, but I'm an old nerd who likes confirmation by facts and figures.

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  15. John Gallan is not British. He's South African and his first language is Afrikaans. SOS dog is a great book, not least because you get to read about one breeder's realisation that his hobby was producing pale imitations of the village dogs that he was slowly growing to love and admire.

    I recommend it to anyone.

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  16. If people are genuinely interested in practices in pedigree dog breeding, I'd recommend playing fly on the wall on the Dogzonline Breeders Forum:

    http://www.dolforums.com.au/forum/20-breeders-community/

    You can find instances where people have trouble with natural mating. Search for posts including the word "studmaster" and you'll find many stories. But in doing so, note that all-in-all, problems getting dogs to mate are rare. The more common problems are preventing unwanted matings and coping with the disruption caused by a bitch on season. You'll also find that the most common situations calling for a studmaster are 'virgin' dogs and bitches who haven't yet learned the ropes.
    Surprise: Courtship and mating is to a significant extent learned behaviour in dogs. Perhaps this helps/helped with wolf packs, where the alpha did/does most of the mating, and other dogs waiting in the wings were building up the skills to do the deed. Breeders report the occasional stud who does the deed naturally, but many many inexperienced dogs are ineffectual and do a lot of messing around before getting down to business.
    As to low libido . . .yes, some breeders have that problem. BFD. I love the fact that my retrievers have soft mouths. That's unnatural and would make them less viable in nature. Who cares if some dogs are not driven crazy by the scent of a girl in heat. I don't see how this makes the pups any less healthy. I'll bet that, given a choice, most breeders would like to tone down, rather than ramping up, their dogs sex drive.
    I regard both the Gallans and Dr. Ian Dunbar as idealogs fighting a straw men called 'the pedigree dog breeder'. That straw man does not represent the norm among modern dog breeders.

    Dunbar does have a PhD, but he does not write or think like a scientist. He throws around assertions, not substantiated by evidence, in much the same way that politicians do. As with politicians, some of what he says can be substantiated, other bits rest on dubious ground.

    The real question is not whether there are bad practices among breeders. I'm sure there are. No question, reproductive help is required for some breeds that are in trouble on a lot of fronts. The more important questions are:what is normal practice, what is regarded as 'best' practice, and how common is deviant, 'bad' behaviour. Condemning pedigree breeders as a whole due to the practices of a minority is illogical and unfair.

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    1. Anonymous 12:48

      Ian Dunbar’s DogStar Daily website is written for Joe Public, who often has little or no background in science. It is not written for scientists, hence the non-academic language.

      Dr Dunbar has participated in scientific studies and has had his work published in peer-reviewed, science-based academic journals. His work is cited by other researchers whose work is published in peer-reviewed, science-based academic journals.

      If you actually read what Dr Dunbar writes, you will see that he is not against breeding pure-bred dogs. He does not condemn all breeders of purebred dogs. He criticizes poor practice. The difference is not a subtle one and inability to understand it is a result of faulty logic on the part of the reader, not the writer.

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  17. Dunbar's has a formidable scientific publication record (you can find it by Googling). Most of it deals with social behavior and the primate brain. He is a leading advocate of Learning Theory (which, though very popular among educated dog owners, is still a theory. Many widely accepted social / psychological / behavioural theories have turned out to be off-target. I, personally, wouldn't be surprised to see Learning Theory go the same way as Dr. Benjamin Spock's theories on child rearing). Dunbar has few, if any, scientific publications on canids: nothing that I can find on mating behaviour of domesticated dogs. Unless substantiated by observational data, I see no reason to take his opinions on dog mating more seriously than the opinions of experienced dog breeders.

    The 'blind date' where a bitch is taken to a stud dog is no better test of the dog's social skills than ability to pick up a woman in a bar is an indicator of a man's ability to be a good father. It's hard to see how a dog's courtship behaviour in 'blind date' mating is predictive of anything. Sure, if a dog or bitch is normally aggressive, and that aggression carries over into mating behaviour, the odds are weighted in favor of getting aggressive pups. But where mating behavior is at odds with temperament observed in day to day living, there's little basis for saying it predicts anything.


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  18. Jennifer,

    If you look carefully at the name of the person on the research you found through Google, I think you will find that you have the wrong Dunbar. This is the Dunbar that I am referring to:

    R. Doty, I. Dunbar
    Attraction of beagles to conspecific urine, vaginal and anal sac secretion odors
    Physiology and Behavior, 12 (1974), pp. 825–833 http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.viu.ca/10.1016/0031-9384(74)90020-1

    I. Dunbar
    Olfactory preferences in dogs: the response of male and female beagles to conspecific odors
    Behavioral Biology, 20 (1977), pp. 471–481 http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.viu.ca/10.1016/S0091-6773(77)91079-3

    I. Dunbar
    Olfactory preferences in dogs: the response of male and female beagles to conspecific urine
    Biology of Behaviour, 3 (1978), pp. 273–286

    I. Dunbar, M. Carmichael
    The response of male dogs to urine from other males
    Behavioral and Neural Biology, 31 (1981), pp. 465–470 http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.viu.ca/10.1016/S0163-1047(81)91546-6

    I. Dunbar, M. Buehlar, F. Beach
    Developmental and activational effects of sex hormones on the attractiveness of dog urine
    Physiology and Behavior, 24 (1980), pp. 201–204 http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.viu.ca/10.1016/0031-9384(80)90074-8

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  19. Ok, I didn't go through the whole list of early publications. I still don't see how reductionist work on response to pheromones in urine -- done 30 years ago -- makes someone an expert on the importance, or lack thereof, of correct courtship rituals in the mating aspect of breeding dogs. No question, Dunbar is bright and writes well, and I often agree with what he writes. But he rests on his laurels in this case. Behavioural biology is not physics. There are no fundamental laws to fall back on. If anyone, Nobel lauriates included, wants to assert that behaviour of a dog or bitch in an 'arranged' mating, is a significant predictor of tempermental or other qualities of the litter, I want to see evidence. It's a complex system. You can't predict outcomes based on your gut feeling or ideology. No way I'll reject a young dog who comes out top of the line by health and performance indicators, but is a bit shy on mounting a bitch and needs guidance and encouragement from a handler.

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  20. oops! You're right, I found a Dunbar with a much more significant publication record than the Dunbar in question.

    But that changes nothing. A few reductionist studies, done 30 years ago, on the response of dogs to orders in urine hardly makes someone an expert on mate selection in dog breeding.

    p.s. is anyone else having trouble with the CAPCHA on this blog. I'm beginning to think I may be a robot!

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    1. Jennifer,

      A few points:

      1. Quantity and quality are not the same and do not necessarily have a relationship to each other.

      2. The articles I listed above were not necessarily the entire body of peer-reviewed published work related to a research project.

      3. Just because someone has not published recently does not mean he or she has lost the ability to remain current in the field by reading and understanding the research of others.

      4. Snideness does not equal argument or refutation.

      Dr Dunbar spent 10 years researching sexual behaviour in dogs as part of a team under Dr F. A. Beach; the study lasted 30 years and included observations on mate selection. Peer-reviewed publications from this study have been cited by other scientists working on canid behaviour, including mate selection. You need to go to an academic database, not Google, to find these publications. Go to a university's website and click 'library'.

      What sort of qualifications would you like an expert on mate selection to have, if being a qualified veterinarian, being a qualified behaviourist and participating for 10 years in a 30-year research programme that included this very topic is not enough?

      All the man said in the article I originally referred to was basically that dogs that cannot or will not breed naturally should not be bred from and he backed his opinion up by explaining some pretty bog standard science. I respectfully suggest that most people, including some other pretty eminent scientists, would agree if they have the dog's interests rather than their own agendas at heart.

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  21. My Alaskan Malamute bitch refused the first male who courted her. He was experienced and did everything seemingly right, but she growled and snapped at him. It did not cross my mind to tie her up because of this, or force her. They met on multiple days but her attitude did not change. And it was a good thing too.

    Turns out he passed on multiple hereditary problems including (but not limited to) cataracts and polyneuropathy. It has been suggested that dogs can smell genetic compatibility and after this experience I find it entirely possible.

    The next male (during her next heat) she reacted to completely differently. They mated naturally twice. She gave birth to 9 puppies, one stillborn, the rest healthy. The labour went very well and she required NO assistance. She took exceptional care of them too.

    I don't think it's too late to stop assisting the dogs and trust them instead. Some dogs will lack the will or capacity to breed naturally; they should not be bred. This is a fundamentally important part of holistic breeding.

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    1. Nice if your bitch's nose will warn you of a stud's dodgy genes, but aren't health tests more reliable?

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    2. Some problems show up later in life that are hereditary but don't have a specific health test for. So the stud may not show signs of having it, but in a few years it's going to be there.

      That's how PRA got started in Vizslas in the US. It was late onset, the sire got it at the age of 7? and already had a few litters. They tried to submit for genetic study, but were told the sample size was too small so they had to create more dogs before they could submit (hah). Now there's a genetic test, but there wasn't then.

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  22. I've just read some of the most recent comments. I think my final conclusion on the matter is that for breeds where many or most dogs cannot mate naturally due to extreme conformation OR extreme temperament (so dog-aggressive they can't even forget about fighting for long enough to mate, for instance) then yes, there is a serious problem.

    But do I have a problem with a little human guidance for young or inexperienced dogs or bitches, animals that were raised as "lone dogs" and have not the greatest learned social skills, or a great match where the dogs maybe don't take a huge shine to each other? No, I have no problem with that at all.

    It's impossible to know why two dogs don't hit it off. It's all well and good to speculate that they smell something wrong, and that may be true. But what if the bitch hates mailmen and the stud dog reeks of the mail because his owner is a postal carrier? I heard a behaviorist relate a story of a dog with seemingly "random" aggression who it turns out had been kicked by an ignorant pizza delivery person, and the dog would start barking and growling whenever someone came to the house smelling of pizza. A little counter-conditioning soon fixed the problem, but the point is dogs have sensitive noses, and may be reacting to something totally unrelated to the actual genetic qualities of the stud dog. If a dog is apprehensive of thunder storms and there are some stormy days when she is in season and it puts her off being in the mood, are you to call off the mating if you traveled 400 miles and waited three generations to make this cross?

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    1. Beth, how would you know which it was? Unwillingness to mate due to genetic problems, or because the dog smelt of the mailman?

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  23. Bravo for those dogs getting so far as to be on top of each other. I have been delving recently into everything "French" bulldog and I can tell you natural mating for that breed is completely out of the picture. The female sexual organs are in completely the wrong place making any attempt by the male to inseminate so frustratingly difficult (lets say a few botched attempts) as to make the male suffer heat stroke a potentially lethal condition that can lead to brain damage and death. So its lose lose on both sides.

    I visited a dog show in Thailand full of French bulldogs and visited a few kennels. I was shocked to learn that all these dogs are artificially inseminated and then give birth by caesarian section. Unfortunately any tiny good practise or breeding attempts reached in Europe/UK have not reached these distant exotic shores and dogs are suffering 100% as of old. Bad enough that a bitch gets to have a litter every year its also a caesarian section every year. Im also told its common for many puppies to be dead, still born just a tiny % are actually alive.

    One of the top breeders in Asia with mostly American lines lost a dog because it got its toe stuck in the wire mesh flooring of its "cage". Lot to be said for not treating dogs like chickens and chickens like chickens. What happened was the dog got its toe stuck went into panic and dropped dead of heat stroke. The room where this awful thing happened was fully aircon and blasted by about seven industrial sized fans.

    There are many and I mean many horror stories to be told about French bulldogs but the worst I heard and again from supposedly the top breeder in Asia was that yes the dogs are riddled with problems especially his American lines, (he didn't agree with the Europeans trying to tamper with the breed) too extreme in all dimensions, but this didn't matter too much as "his clients were rich and can happily afford the vet bills". Yes he also charges extreme prices for these off-casts from the show world. One puppy I saw had such tight nasal passages it couldn't breath through them, this he confidently explained to me would not do in the show ring at all but would make an excellent "pet" home.

    So I suppose your new puppy in the home gagging and turning blue then dropping dead is just fine as long as it doesn't happen in the show ring?

    I find this extraordinary that a show dog must be healthy and all is done to make sure of that at Cruft for example but a "pet" dog the outcasts the throw away results of horrific breeding are fine for the general public and happy domestic set ups???

    All puppies with obvious and less obvious potentially lethal, harmful defects or just plain runts and frankensteins are considered 'pet" quality by breeders. I don't call that quality of any kind I find that disgusting. And I know for a fact it happens not just in Thailand but all over the globe in the sordid world of dog breeding and showing.

    So out of a "beutifull" litter of already deformed pedigree dogs the rejects are pet quality. This is completely insane, a toy and/or group 9 dog has as its main function apparently a companion and pet and not an invalide and heart breaker!!!!!

    Freaky world we live in.

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    1. I agree, although in this case, the pet owners are certainly to blame. I'd be interested to know how many potential owners understand how health compromised their chosen breed is, but still go ahead and get a puppy anyway!

      There does need to be an established way for pet owners to find a reputable breeder who genuinely cares about the health, welfare and genetic diversity of his/her breed. The ABS would have been perfect, if it wasn't such a farce and become a way for puppy farmers to sell their stock. As there isn't anything in place at the moment, many pet owners will still end-up choosing the wrong breeder.

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    2. Fran

      I thought similar things to you about the ABS but I have totaly changed my mind having seen some poor breeders thrown off. I had a long conversation with Bill Lambert of the KC who exp[lained some of the things they have done and some of the chsnmges that they have planned for the new year. Its quite exciting

      Carol

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    3. The poor bitch looks like she's been knocked out!

      River14, what a very depressing outlook that "breeder" has on his breed. It's no wonder so many dogs are in such dire straits when they have people like that representing them. I'm afraid for a select few breeders, the breed standard must be adhered to at any cost!

      Louise

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  24. This just looks pathetic no matter what. Why would anyone want to perpetuate the creation of animal so grossly misshapen and unhealthy? Hardly seems fair. This must be how Honey Boo Boo's mom was impregnated with her..her being HBB!

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  25. Not that I will ever get a reply to this. But you should target Back Yard Breeders, I have seen no end of dogs advertised for breeding on sites such as facebook, gumtree and preloved. I can print screen the amount of animals who are not regestered to any organisation, not health tested, many crossbreds (nothing against them but health test them) no initial checks or research being done...those people really need to be targeted as well! Please do an article on that!!

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    1. I agree that BYB are a serious problem. However, if the KC can't provide the general public with a trusted source of breeders - those who breed for health, temperament, low COIs and genetic diversity, then this leaves people not knowing where to turn. You have to really search for good breeders within your chosen breed - that just makes finding one too hard. Until finding good breeders is as easy as going on Gumtree, Preloved or FB, many people will continue to get their puppies off there.

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  26. So we accreditted breeders aren't 'good breeders' or easy to find Fran?

    Wish I could go to a similar body for my prospective puppy owners would save me a whole lot of heartache. Many 'practice' gaining skills via other breeds and breeders, they get rejected over and over again each time learning the 'right' answer to our grilling. Rarely do other breeders get to know about them or who they are as they've learned to swap breeds as too often they were given a blanket ban via breeders who'd experienced their 'lession'

    Everytime I consider not walking away from my lifelong hobby, all my health testing, coi calcuations, history gathering of various dogs and their progeny for temp, trainability, conformation etc - I just come back here and read!!!!!! Ah yes reality check Jenny it just ain't worth the heartache - DAC recommendations had no bearing on reality what a farce you will end up with battery hen style breeding establishments to comply with many of their requirements.

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  27. The world has really gotten crazy!
    Are these people so blind that they can't see how wrong this is?

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