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Dogs and cats have been bred selectively for thousands of generations. This has been done with a specific goal in mind, either to improve its hunting capacity or make it more attractive. However, the trend of having pedigree dogs with specific aesthetic traits leads to the suffering of thousands of animals due to the hereditary effects involved in achieving such traits.
In order for an animal to have the physical characteristics that people are looking for, animals with these or similar characteristics are cross-bred for generations, which also means breeding brothers with sisters and parents with children. This procedure is called endogamy and has serious downsides associated with it, as it reduces the genetic variety of species and also increases the chances of the animal having defective genes.
This explains why pedigree animals are more vulnerable to developing physical defects and diseases which involve pain and suffering: disorders associated with the blood, the heart, the endocrines, the eyes, the gastrointestinal tract, breathing, the urinary or reproductive system, the immune system, the muscles, the bone structure, the nervous system or the skin.
The fashion of owning pedigree dogs, with certain "aesthetic" canons, leads to the suffering of millions of animals.
Below are some examples of common problems, a consequence of genetic selection, in some of the best-known breeds:
Beagle: hypothyroidism, pulmonary valve stenosis.
Boxer: aortic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, mastocytoma and deafness in individuals with a white coat.
English Bulldog: dystocia, brachycephalic syndrome (breathing and eye problems due to the build of the snout and face), hemivertebra, pulmonary valve stenosis, skin problems coming from the folds in the skin.
French Bulldog: brachycephalic syndrome, cleft palate, hemivertebra.
Poodle: diabetes, cataracts, distichiasis, hyper and hypoadrenocorticism.
Pug: brachycephalic syndrome, hemivertebra, dermatitis in the folds of the skin.