Yes, dog breeding is a form of eugenics. Of course, for a eugenics program to actually work and be practical, it requires culling. However, modern society looks down on the drowning of puppies and has gone so far to make it illegal. (Don’t take this as an argument for puppy drowning, but rather as a simple statement of fact.) Some people argue that spaying and neutering pets is a form of culling, but this just isn’t so.

Because dogs have been humanized to the point of being dressed in clothing and called “my child,” the idea of euthanizing an animal because it is deaf or unable to run due to defective joints is considered to be cold-hearted and immoral.

But do people spend thousands of dollars on a beloved dog’s hip surgeries because it is what is best for their pet? What IS best for the pet?

Or are people spending exhorbitant amounts of money “fixing” their pets’ physical or mental deficiences to assuage their own consciences and give them a few more years with the pets they love? It’s hard to say good-bye to someone or something we love, isn’t it?

Euthanizing a dog with severe hip dysplasia costs about $200 for the veterinary and crematory fees. It is even less expensive if a local animal shelter conducts the euthanasia and the owner takes his pet’s body home to bury. Hip dysplasia surgery costs about $2,000. The procedure helps keep many businesses running and people employed–oxygen and anesthesia suppliers, orthopedic suppliers, veterinary assistants, veterinary surgeons, etc.

But we mustn’t fool ourselves. That really doesn’t mean our dogs’ defects stimulate the economy. A defect can spur innovation, but it doesn’t produce anything that grows a community’s wealth. A dog’s bad hips simply shifts money from one person’s pocket to the pocket of another.

Our dogs don’t understand why they are being put under the knife. Dogs don’t know why they are in pain when they wake up in the animal hospital after surgery. They don’t know why they can’t run and play and jump and do everything their innate nature urges them to do. Chronic and severe pain causes serious psychological harm to humans, and they can understand the reasons behind the pain. But imagine how much more traumatic pain and debilitation is to an animal that cannot understand why.

Since society generally abhors the idea of culling debilitated humans, and because canines have been so humanized in the eyes of many in society, it would only follow that society would abhor the idea of culling debilitated animals. Society has also become rather fearful of death–to the point of rotting on respirators with multiple organ failure at the age of 85 rather than dying in peace and dignity with family under the comforts of palliative care. But each human being has the inherent right to life and the right to choose or reject medical care. But do dogs have that right? Do children? Dog “parents” make the important life or death decisions for their furry “children” just as human parents do for their own offspring. And we should hope that in both cases, the best interest of the ones unable to speak for themselves are being considered paramount.

Humans have children for a variety of reasons, but ultimately parents never want to outlive their children. It’s not natural for a child to die before his parents. But dogs rarely outlive their owners. By humanizing our pets into furry children, it is as if we purposely have offspring we know will die as teenagers. We prepare ourselves for the inevitable death even before we acquire the puppy. It’s worth the pain of loss, though, right?

But if dog ownership (or parentship) is worth the pain of losing a dog to old age at 10 years (the average age of a Rottweiler), why not say good-bye to a 2-year-old Rottweiler suffering from severe hip and elbow dysplasia? Are those 8 years for the good of the dog’s soul or for the owner’s? Does the owner owe those 8 years to the dog, a dog that otherwise would not survive in nature even with the best of survival instincts? Does that dog have an inherent right to die of natural causes while simultaneously being kept alive by intensive human-provided health care? What if the dog dies on the operating table? Should the owner feel guilt for having subjected his pet to the pain of surgery and risk of anesthesia? Or should the owner feel righteous for having done all he could for his dog and it must have just been “his time to go”?

Is it moral to use an animal to fill an emotional need, but immoral to use it to fill a financial one? We need to be honest with ourselves: keeping an animal alive that suffers from debilitating disease is always to fill the emotional needs of the human(s).

“But an epileptic dog can lead a fulfilling life!”

What IS a fulfilling life for a dog? How do we determine if a dog feels fulfilled? What if the time and money spent on a severely debilitated dog were spent on a healthy puppy instead?

We are a nation that euthanizes healthy animals because we insist on keeping the unhealthy ones alive. We insist on keeping biters alive. We insist on keeping stupid, neurotic, mean dogs alive. We don’t have a pet overpopulation problem. We have a problem with keeping defective and diseased animals alive. And in some cases, like the Bulldog, we have purposely bred defective dogs to produce more defective dogs. The very nature of the Bulldog is defective. The Bulldog requires human intervention in breeding and birthing and sometimes even just to breathe. If we didn’t have the invention of A/C, how many people would really be owning Bulldogs?

But the Bulldog exists because people LIKE the dog’s deformaties. And where there is demand, we will often find supply. Let’s be honest–it’s always about the money. If breeding our dogs always costs more than what it makes, let’s face it–we’re producing money pits rather than assets. And our breeding program would very likely be having a detrimental effect on our loved ones.

THINK ABOUT IT. If breeding your dogs always costs more than it makes, you have to make up the difference somewhere–employment, running your own businesses, credit card debt, something. And if breeding dogs is incredibly time consuming and labor intensive, and you are always having to work to pay for your breeding ventures, then you are having to sacrifice your time and money that otherwise could have been spent on your children, spouses, charities, etc. Really, should we saint the reputable breeders who never do it for the money but only for the love of the breed? I almost think so.

But let’s cut the self-righteous crap. You breed because it is a passion, and it is a passion because it fulfills some sort of need or desire you have and you generally enjoy the breeding process. It is all about YOU. Not the dogs. The dogs don’t care about breed standards and show rings. They don’t care about ribbons and titles. They want to be played with and petted and directed and worked. They want to eat and run and rut, and not necessarily in that order.

Those fancy championships and impressive pedigrees are not for them. They are for YOU and every other human who cares about such things. And no, that’s not a judgment. It’s just an observation.

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