This was a response to issues in one of my Shiba Inu Facebook groups, where queries about testing or purposeful breeding are often met with accusations of superciliousness.
I, for one, am sick and tired of how “breeding this dog is not in the best interest of the breed” is equated with “All cream Shibas should be shot while simultaneously kicking a homeless war veteran while screaming NUKE THE UNBORN BABY WHALES FOR JESUS AND MUHAMMAD.”
Look, we like cream Shibas. We don’t advocate breeding them because the cream dilutes the strong red and black and sesame that is one of the distinguishing features of the Shiba. That doesn’t make them bad and it doesn’t mean that breeders stab pale puppies to death while invoking Cthulhu.
Likewise, saying that not testing for *known genetic health issues in the breed* makes someone a crappy breeder is because it… does. You have the tools to make a real difference to the breed and dogs in general and you don’t do your utmost to ensure your pups have strong joints and eyes? You are what every responsible breeder, rescuer, and owner learns to hate, because you knowingly create animals without doing your best to keep them healthy and pain free.
Anyone who has a knee injury, stand up. Does it hurt? Now imagine that happening all the time because you have no other choice of locomotion and you have no way of telling someone to get you to a goddamn doctor. Welcome to luxating patella. It’s genetic and it’s painful and it gets worse over time unless you shell out for a surgery that can cost several thousand dollars, depending on whether one or both joints are affected, severity, health of the dog, etc. etc. And the happy companion you were supposed to have to walk and play with can’t go on any kind of long walk and spends a lot of time not doing much because it hurts.
People who give a shit about their dogs don’t want to produce this. They fight actively not to produce it. Anyone who doesn’t is doing their puppies and their puppies’ owners a huge disservice. That’s why we say ‘responsible’ breeder. Responsible. Response. There is no apathy in serious dog breeding; there is active research and evaluation, not wilful ignorance and a casual assumption that Nature can take care of everything. (Nature sucks, by the way. Examine the physics of the human knee sometime)
Yes, it can happen to dogs from tested clear parents, but the thing is, it happens LESS and, gradually, through a dedicated breeding program, it can systematically be eliminated to the point where affected animals show up extremely rarely. That doesn’t mean you can stop testing, though… oh, no. You keep testing, you keep checking because you don’t want a random gene dance to bring the nasty back into what you’re breeding.
And then, of course, you’re online and someone blather on about how there’s no point to genetic testing ‘because it can happen even if dogs are healthy and tested’. It’s like you spend your life trying to eliminate drunk driving, only to have a bunch of people tell you that there’s no point to prosecuting or restricting drunk drivers ‘because drunk drivers are going to happen anyway’.
And then you ask a few pointed questions about whether someone with adorablesweetcuteomg puppies has thought about this and we’re back to Shiba jihad again.