We’ve all watched the Eukaneuba Dog Show and the Westminster Dog Shows, comparing our canine pets with the perfection of the show standard. What no one ever thinks about is how breeding the perfect dogs for appearance might be dumbing them down.
According to the Swedish researcher and Ethologist , Kenth Svartberg, from Stockholm University, today’s breeding for ideal appearance is “affecting the behavior and mental abilities of pedigree breeds, as well as their physical features.”The outcome of testing 13,000 dogs for different levels of sociability and awareness can be found in the Telegraph.co.UK. Svartberg discovered that 31 different breeds, bred for ideal show standards showed lower levels of curiosity and had dull personalities.
It seems that the dogs that were originally bred as hunting dogs, guard dogs and herding dogs, which required above average intelligence in order to work as their master’s expected, are now lacking in the intelligence their ancestors used every day. In only a few generations, dogs bred for shows and pets, with no regard to their skills or intelligence are becoming less alert.Many dog owners today want dogs that are calm and good looking. Some go so far as to give the dogs medication that keeps them calm. When there is so much emphasis on owning a “cute” or “pretty” dog, the true qualities of the breed, such as: scent, speed, agility, and endurance are left behind.Eventually, the qualities which make up the breed are diminished and all that is left is a mere shell of the original working dog.
Although this research proves that dogs are getting dumber, this doesn’t mean your dog is stupid. The more time you spend training, playing, and interacting with your dog, the more he will learn. If you just sit your dog in a corner or tie him outside all day with no human interaction, your dog will become dull and depressed.Take the time to relate to your dog. Take him for walks and go to a dog park, so he can socialize with other dogs and act like a dog is supposed to act. Give your pet the opportunity to be a dog. Your dog is not just another show piece on the shelf, but an animal that needs a purpose in life. If you show your dog, just be sure to play with him, as well, and give him a job to do that fits his breed.
Look up the dog training centers in your area. They offer so many ways for you to get to know your dog and develop a relationship that will last a lifetime. Most dog training centers offer, not only obedience classes, but dog yoga, rally, agility, and play groups. These are terrific places for you to socialize with other dog owners, and for your dog to socialize with all kinds of other dogs, discovering where he fits into the dog world.