And don't get me started...

Blogger Chris, whose work can be found HERE posted a comment on my last entry about the evolution of dogs, and I cannot agree more.   He thinks (as do I) that the purpose of certain dogs' features has been bred out, and that's a shame.  He referenced bulldogs, and on that point, I cannot agree more.  Blogger Bill, whose work appears HERE, believes that the original bulldog was bred out centuries ago.  I agree with him as well.  I think there was the original working bully, then the companion bully, and then the mutant companion bully.  I'll come back to this point, but first...

Bulldogs are precious, adorable, messed up little bundles of wrinkly joy.  My college mascot is the bulldog.  When I was in France in 1998, there was a little bulldog puppy for sale in a pet shop on the Quai Megisserie, and I had a very involved fantasy about getting him, taking him to live with me in Georgia and naming him Hugo.  I was just out of a very bad relationship, recently laid off from a decent but stagnant job, and my grandmother had died, which didn't really affect me, but hey, rule of threes, right?

So, Hugo seemed to be just the thing to drag me out of my misery.  Now, that said, I did not buy the bulldog puppy, for many reasons - not the least of which is that my initial conversion of francs to dollars was a little off.  Also, logistics, practicality.  I realized that Hugo would remain on the Quai sans moi.

But to lessen the blow... I was in Printemps, and given that it was Christmastime, there were all kinds of toys there.  And what did I see, but:

Yes, I still have it.

This is a Steiff stuffed bulldog named Snobby.  I ignored the price and bought him.  The woman who sold him to me wrapped him up in a shopping bag and had him peeping out of the top like a little French purse dog, which was a nice touch.  She might have thought I was a large, simple child.  I don't care.  I slept with him for a long time.  Yes, I was 23, yes, I realize that's a little nuts, and no, I don't care.  I loved that stuffed toy.

So, yes - I do love bulldogs.

However.

Bulldogs would not exist without human intervention.  Because of their body shape, it is hard for them to get pregnant without a little assistance.  And because their heads are so ginormous, but their hips are so narrow, at least 95% of puppies are born caesarian section.

In the south, there's a run on bully pups because they are the UGA Mascot, among others.  There's a family, the Seilers, who have bred all of the live mascots - all named Uga (pronounced UGH uh) followed by their roman numeral in the line.

We are on, if I recall correctly, #10 (X).  If the average rando dog lives 10-13 years, that would mean that we get a new Uga about once a decade - but bulldogs do not have a shelf life like other dogs.  Bulldogs tend to live about 6.5 years.   And because UGA wants their mascot to be as white as possible (yes, I know... I know...), the Seilers have kept their lines extremely tight.  So, these things have genetic integrity of a loaf of Wonderbread.

My other point here is that if you look anywhere in the south to buy a bulldog, you'll be told that this dog came from Uga/Seiler lineage.

So what you get from that is a gene pool so shallow, you'll hit bottom quickly.

And as we all know, variety is the spice of chromosomes.

Now, as to the point of breeding out traits, here are a few images to make the point:










I will be 45 this year, and while that seems old to me, that's a relatively short span of time for evolution.  And yet, look at the skulls from above - that is how quickly the traits modified.  And not small changes.  If you didn't know what you were looking at, you would say, OK  - two different breeds.

But it's not just bulldogs.  Most of the brachycephalic (that's Greek for flat-faced) have suffered a similar fate.

This next image is long, but it's worth reading:





So, not just the look is affected, but the health issues, and the behavior, and the ability to do what they were bred to do is affected.

And I am not against purebreds.  My mother owns two pugs - Maggie and The Dude.  Side note - does that not sound like a radio morning show?

"Wake up with Maggie and the Dude on Crazy 98.8 - WCRZ, Greensboro/High Point!"

So, she has pugs.  And adores and cares for them.  I have a mutt who I care for and adore.  One of my good friends just got a mixed-breed puppy, and he's precious.

I love dogs.  Period.  I don't judge anyone for getting the dog they want and the dog that works for them.  My 75 year old mother can handle two small house dogs.  My spazzy girl would knock her over and pull her down.  But we wanted a dog that was sturdy, and liked being outdoors.  For us, the crapshoot was behavior.  And she's a terrier - huge prey drive, territorial and diggy.  Surprise!

My mother works as a Visiting Angel (home health aide) for a family whose adult daughter has a puppy - Mom described this dog as sweet and chill, andsaid she'd like one of that breed for if she ever got another dog.  She sent me a picture.  It's an Australian Cattle Dog, and I told her that a chill cattle dog is an anomaly - she now thinks maybe not the dog for her. 

I am always stunned when I see a Husky or similar here in hot climates.  Same with bulldogs, to be honest.  They can't breathe well and the heat and humidity exacerbate the problem.  Plus, those skin folds that make them so cute?  Need to be cleaned out often, or skin infections.

I love pointers and bluetick coonhounds, but I know that I don't lead a lifestyle that would suit them.  I love the aesthetic of a Boston Terrier, but I know they have that same flat face problem as pugs and bulldogs - plus their eyes can just pop out.  That seems like a design flaw.

Boxers are precious, but they can be aggressive.  Dachshunds are sweet, but back problems.  Corgis are kind of cute, but also back problems.  I saw a corgi at the dog wash place on Sunday.  His name was Corndog, which is a great fucking name for a dog, but he was getting his nails trimmed and was literally shrieking every time he heard the click.  It was unnerving.  Now, my dog may bark at people waiting for the bus, but she'll let them cut her toenails without restraint and without being a complete jackass.  She'll wait to be a complete jackass by barking at the dog minding its own business in the parking lot.  Because terrier.

Lola was a terrier mix.  Piper is a terrier mix. I clearly have a "type" - Matt says no more terriers, I say we'll see about that.

Anyway - I think anyone who take in an animal and loves it and gives it a home, and does all the responsible owner stuff is doing a noble thing - whether your dog has a pedigree, or merely eats Pedigree, you are doing a good thing.  I'm just saying personally:

1.  I could not own a bulldog in good conscience.

2.  The Seilers/UGA need to travel overseas and get some strange introduced into their line.  Like, a lot of strange.

3.  The Seilers/UGA need to maybe reconsider having a live mascot.  We have the dude in a furry suit. They bring this dog to the games in a custom station wagon with vanity plates.  Once there, he has an air-conditioned dog house on the sidelines.  On top of that, they bring in large bags of ice for Uga to lay on.  Because bulldogs DON'T TOLERATE HEAT.  And most of football season in the south is hotter than balls. 

4.  Sometimes, Uga acts like a real dog, and tries to bite players in the crotch, which is unfortunate.  However, it is also funny.  It will never not be funny.  And I am apparently not the only person who thinks that, because framed copies of the photo have been sold.  The clip gets trotted out at least once a year.  There are t-shirts, and there is a figurine:





Commemorative.  How would you like to be Auburn #21?

His name is Robert Baker.  He currently plays football in Canada, and was at one time, arrested for dealing heroin.  I somehow blame this on Uga, the Seilers, and bulldog breeders everywhere.  Which brings me to my final point.

6.   Given that the current state of bulldogs is that they die young, have health problems galore,  stocky, snorting, physical specimens of epic laziness who require ice bags, air-conditioning and surgical assistance to mate... why is this a symbol of admiration?  I mean, maybe the white, aggressive, overstuffed, hypochondriac, broad-chested traits aren't something we should aspire to?  The whole hypermasculine act to cover up the prissy snowflake reality.

Eh, boys?




Thoughts to ponder.

That's why you don't get me started on bulldogs.


Bully for all of us,

ae



Comments

Funny, I'm really glad I helped get you started on bulldogs. This is a discussion all people who love dogs should be having. Here's something else to consider in all this: Dalmatians are prone to bladder stones. Several years ago a group of Dalmatians were bred to Pointers (there is already some Pointer lineage in contemporary Dalmatians, since they'll occasionally "point") to see if this problem could be reduced or even eliminated.
It worked, but the fury of some people about the "purity" of the breed was terrifying and it's such a toxic subject people are reluctant to bring it up.
Like you I have nothing against purebred dogs. I have a problem with what some people do in the name of "pure breeds".
Also I feel like I need the Kids In The Hall's "Terriers" song as a chaser now.