Inside the Growing Movement to Breed Healthier, Friendlier Dogs
In recent years, there has been a growing movement in the dog breeding community towards prioritizing the health and temperament of dogs over their specific breed traits. This movement acknowledges the health issues commonly found in purebred dogs and seeks to breed mixed-breed dogs that are not only physically healthy but also possess friendly and well-balanced personalities. This shift in focus has led to a rise in the popularity of purposeful mixed-breed breeding, also known as functional breeding. Let’s dive into this fascinating topic and explore why it’s gaining traction among dog lovers.
1. The Problem with Purebred Dogs:
– Purebred dogs are often bred with a focus on maintaining breed standards, resulting in health issues caused by genetic defects and inbreeding.
– Common health issues in purebred dogs include hip dysplasia, heart disease, respiratory problems, and others.
– Behavioral issues such as aggression and anxiety can also be prevalent in certain breeds due to decades of selective breeding focusing solely on physical traits.
2. The Rise of Functional Breeding:
– Functional breeding aims to breed mixed-breed dogs with desirable qualities, focusing on health, temperament, and adaptability.
– Breeders like Laura Sharkey are actively involved in this movement, selectively choosing parent dogs with robust health and excellent temperaments.
– The emphasis is on producing dogs that are genetically diverse, making them less susceptible to common breed-specific health issues.
– These purposefully bred mixed-breed dogs are often referred to as “hybrids” or “designer mixed breeds.”
3. Benefits of Functional Breeding:
– Healthier Dogs: By introducing genetic diversity, functional breeding reduces the likelihood of breed-specific health issues seen in purebreds.
– Enhanced Temperament: Breeding for friendly and well-balanced personalities ensures that these dogs are suited for various households and lifestyles.
– Adaptability: Mixed-breed dogs tend to have greater adaptability, making them more resilient to changes in environment and climate.
– Unique Characteristics: Functional breeding creates one-of-a-kind dogs with unique blends of intelligence, appearance, and behavior.
4. Supporting Shelter Dogs and Rescues:
– Many functional breeders work closely with shelters and rescues, actively participating in efforts to rehome abandoned and neglected dogs.
– By placing mixed-breed puppies from purposeful breedings into loving homes, these breeders are helping decrease the demand for purebred puppies, ultimately reducing the number of dogs surrendered to shelters.
– This collaboration between functional breeders and shelters aims to find suitable homes for mixed-breed dogs while working towards reducing the stray dog population.
The growing movement towards functional breeding is revolutionizing the way we think about dog breeding. By prioritizing the health and temperament of dogs over strict adherence to breed standards, we are creating a healthier and friendlier canine population. Functional breeders, like Laura Sharkey, are leading the way in selectively breeding mixed-breed dogs with unique qualities and diverse genetic backgrounds. As dog lovers, we can support this movement by considering mixed-breed dogs when looking to add a furry companion to our families. Together, we can contribute to a future where every dog has the chance to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.