Animal Breeders

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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That kennel clubs and animal breeders associations formed (for the most part) only in the late 19th and early 20th centuries belies a long history of animal breeders in European and Asian cultures. Animal breeders have been at what they do for a very long time indeed. What comes immediately to mind are the long bloodlines of thoroughbred horses, and the long history in art and culture of sporting and hunting dogs in Europe. That's the pretty side of the painting.

Form and Function for Animal Breeders

Unfortunately, what began as teamwork between man and animal changed. At first there were, for example, hunting and working dogs, be it a Springer spaniel, a Russian wolfhound, or a Maltese terrier. But the reason for animal breeders evolved over time.

Function fell to the side and the focus fell on appearance. The consequences were tragic and cruel. One was ironic and very sad. Overbreeding led to fragile health, susceptibility to illness, nervous strain, weak bones, deformed hips, and respiratory conditions.

Another was a poor reflection on man: inhumane and downright cruel practices accepted as a matter of course, whether clipping ears, docking tails, or worse. Now, these practices are fortunately either illegal or tightly controlled. The focus of modern animal breeders is more often combining breeds of dogs to produce efficient companions for hunters, workers, and even police officers.

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