Why purebred dogs are sick, miserable, and ugly

A similar story can be said about virtually every other purebreed. Siberian Huskies are prone to endocrine disorders (e.g. hypothyroidism), epilepsy, and retained testicles (a condition known as cryptorchidism). Cocker spaniels tend to suffer from a host of eye problems (glaucoma, cataracts, and cherry eye), along with heart disorders, knee and hip problems, and a propensity for allergies. And on and on and on.

But Niels Pedersen, the author of the English bulldog study, says it isn’t accurate or fair to list breeds as being worse off than others, saying the breed that is “worst off” is the breed whose owners can least afford to keep them healthy.

“You must realize that I am a hardliner when it comes to over-breeding of any species that might affect their health,” Pedersen told Gizmodo. “You must also realize that if it were not for all of the genetic disorders in dogs that the need for a lot of veterinary care would disappear. I am not interested in creating disease to increase the need for veterinarians. I am also not equating health and longevity, as many unhealthy breeds are kept alive for relatively normal life spans with proper and often extensive veterinary interventions.”

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