Genetic Time Bombs in Dog Breeds, Selective Breeding

Genetic Time Bombs in Dog Breeds

Selective Breeding

There are two types of dog breeders: ones who promote their breed by selecting for quality and culling dogs with genetic abnormalities, and those who breed for money.  Too many dogs are bred strictly for the outward appearance of the breed and, unfortunately, introduce genetic time bombs into their lines. These abnormalities can cause the pet, the breed, and the future owners much expense and heartache.

Think German Shepherd Dogs and hip dysplasia. The breed became popular decades ago and still suffers the consequences to this day. Numerous types of surgical interventions, including triple pelvic osteotomies and total hip replacements, were developed to counter the effects of bad genes.

Related: Canine Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Your Questions Answered

The list of genetic defects keeps expanding as new breeds become popular. A search of congenital and heritable diseases shows the list of disorders grows as a breed becomes more popular.

Too many dogs are bred strictly for outward appearance of the breed, sadly introducing genetic time bombs into their lines.
English Springer Spaniel, Wiki

Behavior problems are more difficult to assess. There is a syndrome named Springer Spaniel Rage, which has been proven to have a genetic link. We all know that Chihuahuas have a “short guy” attitude, but this could be as much behavioral as it is genetic.

Accepting Blame for Genetic Time Bombs

The public needs to accept part of the blame. People have the mindset that they want a certain breed because of their appearance, but they don’t think about the historical use of the breed. Rottweilers come to mind. Here is a breed that was developed as a guard and police dog. This type of use requires certain aggressive traits. Then somebody thought, “Wow, such a pretty dog would make a great family dog.” Bad idea! Same goes for Chows.

Breeders need to be more proactive in removing dogs from their lines that pass along harmful genetic traits. Selective breeding organizations need to do a better job in policing their members to maintain healthy lines. The public needs to educate themselves better about a breed’s historical uses when choosing a new family pet.


“Genetic Time Bombs in Dog Breeds, Selective Breeding”

Guest Writer: Dr. Scott Shaw has been practicing veterinary medicine for over thirty-two years. For the past fifteen years, he has expanded his education into holistic medicine. He finished the professional veterinary homeopathy course in 2000. Dr. Shaw became a certified veterinary acupuncturist in 2004. Since then he has taken many classes on advanced acupuncture techniques, Chinese herbal medicine, and food therapy. He feels the blending of western veterinary and eastern veterinary medicine creates a balance for optimum patient care.

Check out Dr. Shaw’s website, Westside Pet Hospital

Another article on Animal Bliss by Dr. Scott Shaw:

Animal Bliss is a really cool blog about animals, both domestic pets and wildlife too

Genetic Time Bombs in Dog Breeds, Selective Breeding Click To Tweet


Animal Bliss is a really cool blog about animals, both domestic pets and wildlife too


Is your dog in danger of genetic time bombs from improper or selective breeding?

*** Leave your comment below. ***

(It’s just sexy!)

Jeanne Melanson, founder and blogger at Animal Bliss: a very cool blog about animals - domestic pets and wildlife too

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Animal Bliss - a very cool blog about animals, domestic pets and wildlife too.


DISCLOSURE: Animal Bliss is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

(In other words, we’ll get a very small, teeny tiny) commission from purchases made through links on this website.)

(So, go on. Buy a Ferrari. Or a Jaguar. Please!)


[amazon_link asins=’0876051751,1432987542,1845939409,B000RDQQ12,1465408444,1770858253′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’animalbliss-blog-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’dcdc03df-94e4-11e7-b8ec-07c656d68f89′]


Jeanne Melanson
Follow Me:
Latest posts by Jeanne Melanson (see all)

6 thoughts on “Genetic Time Bombs in Dog Breeds, Selective Breeding”

  1. I really appreciate and thank u for this post so much. I have recently lost an English springer cocker spaniel with so many genetic issues and had to take her to a vet when she turned one and after that almost every month for some or the other health issue. She could live through all medicine and treatment for 8.5 years only…sadly she ledt is heart broken…with a serious condition of chf…I am glad she was with us and we could look after her well…elsewhere she would have been left on the streets to rot and die. I do hope people would pay attention to this major breeding issue and breed with responsibility and not supply breeds not belonging to a certain climate. Like dogs belonging to cold climate in extremely hot climate…That is also a very big and scary!

  2. Hey here is a grrreat idea which people should stop doing….BREEDING!!!! Just STOP. If we would stop selfish jerks from breeding, maybe, just maybe one day we can eliminate or at least lower the amount of these poor babies in shelters. They are WAY too many animals right now that need a home. If EVERYONE would STOP buying from breeders and only get their next best friend from a shelter, we could help this problem. I just hope and Pray one day that people everywhere would get a heart and get smart and stop breeding. I know you breeders love your money but come on. It’s sad.

  3. Spaniel rage can be in cockers as well but generally it’s in the show type and
    more so in the solid colour ( all black, brown etc,) .
    I have a black/ white sprocker and a brown / white working cocker and they have
    very good temperament, very good and full of fun.

  4. Hi Dr. Scott,

    Great post! I’m developing a website to monitor pomsky breeding at We’re working to put together a guide for breeder ethics and practices, do you have any recommendations for what should be included in this guide?


  5. I have two mixed breeds. Both can have issues. My Chug a chihuahua pug mix has breathing and eating issues associated with the pug. I received him after I adopted a Chihuahua. I was not told she was pregnant when I adopted her. My Chug is the result.

    I also have chihuahua mixed with wire foxy terrier mix. He is really tiny and can not eat any hard food. He is almost 2 years old and weighs 5.6 pounds. I received him from a friend that allows their dog to roam the streets. My pup is the result. Other than that, I don’t see to have any issues yet.

    • Hi Sandy. Your two mixed breeds sound like little darlings, despite the health issues they have. I admire you for adopting them. Thanks for visiting my site. Hope to see you here again soon. Peace


Leave a Comment