Wednesday, 11 February 2015

French Bulldog masturbating... er, no.

The second-most disturbing thing about this video is that anyone would want to film it and upload it to YouTube.

But the first is the woeful misinterpretation of what they're seeing here. This Frenchie paw-job is not an attempt at self-pleasure. Rosko here is not getting his rocks off. This is a brachycephalic dog that cannot lick its own genitals (or anus) and is reduced to doing this in an effort to maintain penis/sheath health and comfort.

There are dozens of similar videos on YouTube. Now some are of dogs that are genuinely masturbating (it is not uncommon and other animals do it too). But the ones of the dogs doing what this dog is doing are all brachycephalic: French Bulldogs, Bulldogs, Pugs. 

It isn't cute or funny. It's criminal. Because we didn't just mess French Bulldogs up so badly that they often struggle to breathe and have such flat faces that they damage their eyes. We didn't just breed them so that 80 per cent of them have deformed spines and can't reproduce naturally (over 80 per cent  are delivered by C-section). We robbed them of this basic survival tool, too.

Bracycephalic dogs can't reach their junk. They cannot clean themselves. Brachy males can't lick their penis to keep it clean. Brachy bitches cannot lick their vulva or reach round to lick their whelps as they are being born. Their owners have to wipe their bums for them. 

French Bulldog registrations have gone through the roof - a more than 2000% increase in the 10 years since 2004 in the UK.

Last year, the Kennel Club removed the Frenchie from the high-profile list. It was way too soon. Sure, there are a handful of breeders who talk a good game about health. And yep, there's a new health scheme for Frenchie breeders in the UK. But it sets the bar so low. Even the "Gold" award doesn't require any test for BOAS. 

It's not the dogs themselves who are wankers. It's those that continue to breed and buy dogs that look like this. 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Is this *really* the pits?

Yesterday on the PDE Facebook page (over 3,000 members now... check us out here), I posted this picture of a Pit Bull/Dachshund x and asked what people thought of him.

Rami, who is in rescue and looking for a new home through Moulrie Colquitt County Humane Society, prompted mostly outrage.

Here's a selection of responses from people who presumed Rami had been bred deliberately (something that is not, in fact, known).
"Sadly I don't believe this example will be unique and others will be finding other such sad (in so many senses of the word) ways of abusing man's best friend (seems the compliment is not returned by some). Don't suppose the people who breed such ' mutants' will be needing a 'breed standard'"
"Who ever bred that should be shot!"
"Are you suggesting this dog might have a form of dwarfism... breeding dogs with such even underlying genetic conditions is not very helpful." 
"Soo sad this is why I hate cross breeding so much"
"... disgrace of a dog in the vision of another shitty breeder"

So here's the challenge... Could anyone tell me why it is OK to be shocked by Rami and not, say, by this dog?

Or how about this one? 

The shock of Rami is that the breeding - whether on purpose or an accident - has disabled the Pitbull; that in removing its legs, in turning into a dwarf, it has destroyed a dog celebrated for its fitness and athleticism.  

When we see this anew, it is genuinely troubling.

But what on earth do you think a Basset Hound is if not exactly the same beast? Indeed, the Basset textbooks make no secret of this.

You think it makes it OK because one had a pedigree and the other doesn't?

Not to the dog!

So the answer to the question in the headline above is "yes". But the same applies to every dwarf dog,  purebred or otherwise.

Friday, 16 January 2015


There is a ceremony in Edinburgh this afternoon to mark the 143rd anniversary of Greyfriars Bobby - a Skye Terrier who supposedly spent 14 yrs guarding the grave of his owner until he himself died on 14th January 1872.

Bobby is commemorated in Edinburgh with this statue.

They are described as "a low, hardy terrier" but,  in reality, the modern Skye is anything but hardy. The breed barely exists outside of the show-ring and there, sadly, the set of the dogs' ears is way more important that its ability to be useful on a smallholding on the windswept Isle of Skye.

Today, the Skye Terrier is one of the most inbred, most endangered native UK breeds, dead on average by just 11 years old (terrible for a terrier). It is blighted by several different cancers, auto-immune disease, renal dysplasia, Skye Terrier hepatitis and back problems (the last no huge surprise given the show-ring selection for a dog with short legs and a long back). It also has a high-maintenance coat - not always the case historically.

Registrations in the UK? Only seventeen Skye pups were registered in 2013, prompting a huge panic and much talk about how to increase numbers.  More puppies were born in 2014, but the breed cannot survive much longer without something way more radical than the few existing breeders trying to produce more pups from their inbred stock and the Kennel Club trying to extol the breed's  dubious virtues to puppy buyers.

What breeders and the KC should be doing of course is planning a careful outcross - if, that is, there is truly enough appetite to stop this breed sliding into oblivion.

And that's because it is ethically unacceptable to continue to breed Skye Terriers without an injection of new blood when there's such a high propensity for suffering.

Are there any enlightened breeders planning an outcross for this breed - perhaps to its more hardy, more moderate cousin the Cairn Terrier?

Please let me know.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Vet checks - has complacency bred contempt?

These timed photographs show what the photographer who took them alleges was the sum of the vet check of the Best of Breed Neapolitan Mastiff at Richmond Championship Show last Saturday.

The photographer maintains that vet Erik D'Arcy-Donnelly never got up from his desk and that the vet check took less than two minutes, including writing the form which gave the dog a Pass.

14:15:41: Sean Platts enters the vet's office with Best of Breed Vallino Too Hot To Handle.
Vet Erik D'Arcy-Donnelly is seated at the desk
50 seconds later: vet Erik D'Arcy-Donnelly remains seated on the opposite side of the
desk to dog and owner
1 minute 6 seconds later, owner Sean Platts has emerged from the vet's office with his Pass
The vet check for the Neapolitan Mastiff covers eyes, ears, skin and a soundness check during which the vet is supposed to ask the dog's handler to move the dog up and down.

But, according to the photographer, vet Erik D'Arcy-Donnelly remained seated throughout on the other side of the desk from Vallino Too Hot To Handle and owner Sean Platts.

"I spotted Sean Platts and his dog walk from the rings in front of the trade stands towards the vet's office, accompanied by a KC official. It was a warm day and the door was open, so I thought it would be interesting to take some pictures of a vet check. To my astonishment, the vet never got up and, less than two minutes later,  Mr Platts emerged waving his Pass.  I did not see him examine the dog and there was no room inside the vet's office to move the dog. I was quite shocked by what I saw."

The video below shows vet Nick Blayney demonstrating how the vet check should be conducted. It includes a hands-on examination of the dog.

I contacted Erik D'Arcy-Donnelly - who breeds and shows Border Terriers  - to ask if he would like to comment.  I did not initially send him the pictures. His response: "I would like to reassure you that every aspect of the Veterinary Health Check for all of the Category 3 breeds on Breed Watch was carried out in full to the guidelines specified by The Kennel Club."

I then sent him the above photographs and invited him to comment further. He has not so far responded - but if he does I will add it here.

Mr D'Arcy-Donelly is also a duty vet at Windsor and Newbury Championship Shows.

The dog's owner, Sean Platts, also insists that everything was done by the book - including that the vet asked him to move the dog up and down outside the vet's office after the eyes/ears/skin check.

Mr Platts says he is pro the vet-checks in principle, although thinks they should be for all breeds.

When shown these pictures, Mr Platts says: "These pics are from when I returned to the vet's room from being outside after the movement, and in the room I'm stood waiting while the vet writes his report. So your spy was late with the camera and missed the exam and movement part."

Not so, says the photographer. "I had been there for some time with a friend who was packing up. There was no way I would have missed a Neapolitan Mastiff being moved up and down outside of the vet's office. I saw Mr Platts approach with his KC escort, he entered the vet's office and two minutes later emerged with his Pass. The KC official remained outside throughout. The vet did not move from where he was sitting at the desk and there was no room inside to move the dog. In fact, there was an obvious quiet place to one side of the vet's office which was the logical place to move the dog. It was not used for this dog."

So, what did happen here?

The exis data on the photographs confirm the timings - and although not impossible to fake, there is no reason for the photographer to have done so. The photographer says it is impossible for him to have missed a Neo being moved outside the vet's office just prior to these pictures being taken.  He explains:"I had been there for several minutes and, as a photographer, you are scanning all the time."

This is a photographer who, essentially, supports and is part of the dog show world. They sent me the pictures because they were shocked. But, of course, it’s one person's word against two others.  

To be clear, I am not suggesting that the Platts' dog would have failed her vet check. The Vallino kennel is one of the more health-conscious Neapolitan Mastiff breeders.

Does it matter if the vet check was skimped? Well, yes it does. 

The vet checks were introduced at Crufts in 2012 for the Best of Breed winners for the high-profile breeds. We know most people in the show-world think they’re pointless and offensive. And, let’s face it, they’re cursory. It's no secret that I would like them to be a whole heap more thorough.  Nevertheless, they have led to fewer dogs with obvious problems being put up and that is a good thing, despite the continuing protests.

As Caroline Kisko says in the video above, the vet checks are intended as independent confirmation that winning dogs are sound in body; designed to reassure those outside of the show world, not those within it.  

As such, it's important that they are always conducted with the utmost care.