In 2008, the BBC documentary “Pedigree Dogs Exposed”—which revealed high levels of disability, deformity and disease among purebred dogs—dropped like a bomb on the world of dog shows and breeding in the United Kingdom. A year-and-a-half later, the UK’s Kennel Club initiated steps to reform its practices and standards.
Three years later, questions and calls for reform are finally gaining traction here. In April, the Humane Society of the United States convened “The Purebred Paradox” conference to explore issues like those being debated across the pond, and featuring some of those key players. In September, John Woestendiek presented the state of the debate in a feature for Bark (“Breeding Paradox: Can dog-breeding practices be changed?”)
And last Sunday, Benoit Denizet-Lewis added The New York Times’s high profile voice to the conversation with a Magazine cover story on the poor benighted Bulldog (“Can the Bulldog Be Saved?”). The mascot for the Marines and many college sports programs just might become the most enduring example of breeding gone wrong.
Is this a topic near and dear to your heart? Read up on the recent coverage and check back, we’ll be hosting an online conversation with experts soon.