Dog in-breeding causing genetic problems, says expert
University of Windsor to host screening of 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed'
A documentary that rocked the British dog-breeding and showing industry is being screened Tuesday night at the University of Windsor.
The BBC documentary "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" examines genetic problems and outlines what it calls "inherited disease conditions" caused by in-breeding.
James Serpell, a professor of ethics and animal welfare with the University of Pennsylvania who is featured in the film, will speak at the screening. He uses the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed as an example of the problems that in-breeding can cause.
"There are studies which show that by the time a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is five years old, about 80 per cent of them have heart murmurs and a lot of them will die of heart disease," he said.
Serpell said the breed often suffers from pressure on the brain stem, which is caused by the high-domed skull treasured by breeders and exhibitors at dog shows.
He said some breeds are literally falling apart.
"Classically, dog breeders love dogs, and they love their particular breed," he said. "But that then raises the question, if they really love their dogs, why are they allowing this to continue? Why aren't they taking the kinds of practical steps to resolve some of these issues?"