Beagle Wins at Westminster but May Not Live to Tell the Tale
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that selectively breeding dogs for certain “aesthetic” traits like a shiny nose, or perky ears—or whatever the hell it is that breeders are looking for in the animals they use for self-gratification and profit—isn’t good for the animals, and in fact can cause extreme health problems. All of the animals who won awards at the AKC-sponsored Westminster Dog Show this week have something in common beyond having been deliberately bred into a world where millions of animals are dying on the streets for lack of a good home: They’re all genetically predisposed to be highly susceptible to a laundry list of debilitating diseases.
In first place, we have Uno, the first beagle ever to take home the “Best in Show” honors at Westminster. As a beagle, Uno has a significantly higher risk of hypothyroidism, demodectic mange (a condition that occurs when a dog’s immune system can’t regulate the number of mites living in the skin), umbilical hernia, epilepsy, eye and eyelid problems, cryptorchidism, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease, and luxating patella. But I’m sure his Westminster crown will console him when one or more of these ailments set in.
The two poodle contestants, Vikki and Remy, who were just edged out by Uno in the competition, probably won’t live as long as he does either: Poodles are prone to cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, allergies, severe skin disease, hip dysplasia, runny eyes, ear infections, Von Willebrand disease, bloat, and Addison’s disease—an adrenal gland deficiency which requires lifelong medication and monitoring.
Uno also defeated a Weimaraner named Marge (elbow dysplasia, bloat) a Sealyham terrier named Charmin (bronchitis, early tooth decay, poor digestion, severe spine problems), and an Australian shepherd named Deuce (hip dysplasia, blood disorders, digestive problems, epilepsy, chronic eczema, gastric disorders, spinal paralysis).
So everyone’s a loser. Thanks, breeders, for contributing to the problem. Can’t wait to see you guys next year.