Cavalier King Charles spaniels who suffer from syringomyelia scream in agony because their brains are too large for their unnaturally flattened skulls. One veterinary neurologist, interviewed for the BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed , described the brains of dogs with this condition as being like a size 10 foot thats been shoved into a size 6 shoe. English bulldogs, who are bred to have flat faces and unnaturally short airways, labor to fetch a ball, walk or even breathe. Theres a name for this problem brachycephalic airway syndrome . Pugs, Boston terriers, French bulldogs and Pekingese (the breed of the 2012 Best in Show winner) suffer from it, too. To ensure that these favored traits remain in a dogs bloodline, breeders have arranged canine incest, forcing mothers to mate with sons and daughters with fathers. The consequences have been dire: Inbreeding increases the likelihood that recessive genes will be passed down to puppies, resulting in a host of serious congenital defects including epilepsy, hypothyroidism and elbow dysplasia, a disease that can cause lameness and arthritis. The AKC freely admits that one of the main purposes of televised shows such as Westminster is to drive up business for breeders, and they often succeed in getting people to buy the same breeds in the show on impulse. But buyers soon discover that dogs are not props they shed, make messes and require time, patience, walks, medical care, love and dog beds attention. They also learn that animals are expensive to care for properly: According to a 2015 survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 25 percent of respondents who gave up animal companions for a reason related to the animal said that they could not afford veterinary care. When the puppy love phase wears off, many who bought purebreds on impulse end up leaving them at an animal shelter.
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