Consequences of irresponsible breeding for dogs

Inbreeding instead of natural selection

A much-used breeding method is line breeding, which is a form of inbreeding. This method makes animals vulnerable to genetic defects and diseases. These defects are the direct consequence of inbreeding, which is the mating between relatives. This is done to keep and intensify certain breed characteristics. Natural selection, a mechanism that prevents sickly or unsuitable animals from reproducing, is kept out of the breeding programs, because humans are now constantly looking after the continued existence of the animals. Underneath we will outline some examples of problems that arise with breeding on special breed characteristics that have unfavorable consequences for dogs.


ChihuahuaBreed characteristics: large head in relationship to the body. Consequences: Chihuahua puppies have to be born through cesareans, because the puppy's heads are too big for natural birth. There are also instances of open fontanels ("Chihuahua molera"), which is seen as a breed characteristic.


PekineseBreed characteristics: short snouts. Consequences: it's not uncommon for a Pekinese's eyes to pop out of their sockets because these do not fully enclose the eyes.


BoxerBreed characteristics: short snouts. Consequences: Boxers often suffer from respiratory problems because of their "flattened" snouts.


TeckelBreed characteristics: long backs. Consequences: Dachshunds may develop ruptured spinal discs due to their long backs, leading to paralysis and/or chronic pain.

German shepherd

German shepherdBreed characteristics: sloping backs. Consequences: German shepherds are known for having malformed and stiff hip joints, which may cause chronic pain.


Terrier(certain types) Breed characteristics: narrow jaws. Consequences: these Terriers have abnormal bone growth of the lower jaw that may give them difficulty chewing.

Other consequences of inbreeding

This is just a very small selection of diseases and defects (heart disease, coronary disease, blood disease, endocrine disorders, eye disease, skin disease, nervous system diseases, digestion disorders, joint diseases and immunological diseases) that can be directly related to dog breeding. Constant pain and suffering can be the consequence of deliberately trying to keep and intensify breed characteristics. When the desired results cannot be obtained (quickly) through breeding, tails are docked and ears are cropped, tied off or snapped, right after birth and without anesthetics. After an earlier ban on the cropping of dog's ears we now also have a ban on the docking of tails in Holland. It is still allowed to remove the fifth toes (dewclaws) from puppies under four days without anesthetics, because it is assumed that their nervous system is not fully developed and they can't feel pain yet. Fortunately a new resolution for cats and dogs was put in place in the Netherlands since 1st January 1999 that should improve animal welfare in breederies. This is an indication that not all breeders care alike about animal welfare. Keeping breed characteristics is their first priority, optimal health takes second place. This is done to animals because people think that dogs with a certain appearance look sweet, nice or beautiful. Almost every dog breed suffers ill effects from breeding. Please note: everyone who buys a dog like that is helping to maintain these breeding practices. As long as there is a demand, there will be a supply. Do you think that we have the right to do this to animals? Unfortunately, these are not the only drawbacks for dogs.

This article is part of a series on pet adoption. Below the table of contents of this series. Below that even more articles about pets.

Table of contents

Introduction: keeping pets.

An example: the dog

The history of dogs.
Modern day dogs.
Consequences of irresponsible breeding for dogs.
Drawbacks for dogs.


Why do people want pets?
Drawbacks for humans.
The pet-industry.


Take a pet?

More articles on pets

Are pets education tools?
Bad reasons for keeping pets.
Dependency of animals.
Letting go of attachment to animals.
Children and their perception of animals.
A disposal fee for every pet animal purchased?
Abandoned pets as "free as a bird"?

Links to articles about specific animals

Suffering of reptiles.
Why the goldfishbowl is bad.
A rabbit as a pet… suitable or not?