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What We Can Learn About Human Genetic Engineering from Dog Eugenics
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That we’ll probably do it very, very badly.

With recent advances in genetic engineering technology, such as CRISPR, making people get excited about the prospect of human genetic engineering again, it’s worth pondering just how badly humans have messed up simple dog breeding over the last century.

From Science and Dogs:

100 Years of Breed “Improvement”
Caen Elegans / 2012/09/29 …

The German Shepherd Dog is also a breed that is routinely mentioned when people talk about ruined breeds; maybe because they used to be awesome. In Dogs of All Nations [1915], the GSD is described as a medium-sized dog (25 kg /55 lb), this is a far cry from the angulated, barrel-chested, sloping back, ataxic, 85-pounders (38 kg) we are used to seeing in the conformation ring. There was a time when the GSD could clear a 2.5 meter (8.5 ft) wall; that time is long gone.

This history does not make me optimistic about genetically engineering humans.

A lot of people try to draw a distinction between Bad Governmental Eugenics and Good Free Market Eugenics, but the results of the last 100 years of Free Market Dog Eugenics haven’t been encouraging.

 
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  1. Do you really want your dog to be able to jump 8.5 ft walls?

    • Replies: @candid_observer
    The problem is that virtually everything we might want to genetically engineer is going to be nigh impossible to do so in a predictable way.

    The biggest problem of course is that almost all the traits we care about -- obviously now including socially relevant traits like IQ, but also, it seems, most diseases -- are affected by hundreds to many thousands of loci in the genome. CRISPR may be good, but it's nowhere near that good and reliable -- nor would we even be able to predict the outcome if we succeeded in tweaking just the sites we want.

    I'd guess that the only method that might work in a fairly predictable way would be those that involve choosing the best zygote (or the best gametes?) from among those generated by a couple.

    , @Not Raul
    There are thousands of police departments around the world that would be very interested in that ability. Fleeing suspects climb over walls sometimes.
    , @TWS
    Mine can clear a two meter wall easily.
    , @Sean
    A dog can do all kinds of things, but it doesn't do them because if that would be breaking the master's rules. Genetic domestication does reduce the physical ability while increasing sociability and obedience, S0 a dog powerful enough to jump a nine foot fence would probably be a little less worried of the mater's rules and very, very suspicious of strangers (ie bite them at the drop of a hat).
    , @Anonymous
    German Shepherds were bred to be able to wrestle down people, not jump high.
  2. That we’ll probably do it very, very badly.

    That was my thought when I read the title.

    In fact, there is absolutely no doubt that Homo sappyens can and will screw up anything and everything.

  3. We’ll have a nation of females who come out of the womb looking like Wives of Beverly Hills.

    • LOL: snorlax
  4. @Broski
    Do you really want your dog to be able to jump 8.5 ft walls?

    The problem is that virtually everything we might want to genetically engineer is going to be nigh impossible to do so in a predictable way.

    The biggest problem of course is that almost all the traits we care about — obviously now including socially relevant traits like IQ, but also, it seems, most diseases — are affected by hundreds to many thousands of loci in the genome. CRISPR may be good, but it’s nowhere near that good and reliable — nor would we even be able to predict the outcome if we succeeded in tweaking just the sites we want.

    I’d guess that the only method that might work in a fairly predictable way would be those that involve choosing the best zygote (or the best gametes?) from among those generated by a couple.

    • Replies: @Mantle of Hate
    What you are looking for is called iterated selection. Not just choose from the best zygote that parents can naturally produce, but select from the best zygote that that zygote can produce.
    https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Iterated_embryo_selection
  5. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    “This history does not make me optimistic about genetically engineering humans.”

    This is how humans will be made in the future.

    There will be a cyber-glass. A man will put his finger on it and leave a smudge. The smudge will carry some of his DNA. And then the woman will put her finger on the glass, and her smudge will mix with the man’s smudge. The cyber-glass will read the DNA programming of the two smudges and feed the reading to Artificial Intelligence.

    And then, the A.I. will offer 100 possible combinations of two smudges. Parents will choose one of the combinations. And then, the A.I. will allow the parents to edit out certain features they don’t like. And then, the parents will be able to gene-photo-shop the kid-to-be by adding additional genetic features offered by A.I. So, if the parents want to give the kid a bit of Sean Connery flair, you can add Connerish lips and eyebrows.

    And then, the kid will develop in an artificial womb and pop out in 9 months.

    • Replies: @Stealth
    I want better resistance to heat and cold.
    , @TWS
    In the year twenty-five, twenty-five...
    , @Pat Boyle
    I think you have it wrong. Why bother with all that messy biology at all? Personally I want to be a robot and I imagine that given the choice most people would want to also. Biological evolution got us this far but from now on biology looks like the wrong approach to creating people.

    I could be wrong of course. Maybe people will continue to be created by biological sex - the old fashion way - indefinitely into the future. But that seems very unlikely.

    We still make bones out of calcium and phosphorus (I think) but wouldn't we all be happier if our bones were made of better materials like carbon fiber? I picked up a urinary tract infection at my doctor's office recently. I would not have had all that discomfort if I had a bladder made out of something that resisted bacteria better. A biological urinary bladder is a anachronism. It makes no sense whatsoever.

    So I don't think it pays much dividends to think much about genetics or breeding anymore. These changes are happening faster than most people imagine. We are only a few years away from driverless cars. When that happens millions of Americans will no longer be needed in the economy. The Nazis in the Second World War transported most of their war materials by horse. We now have mechanical dogs that can carry a soldier's back pack. Soon biological dogs will be like horse are today - rare except in boutique settings.

    We revolt at the idea of a mechanical dog - they are so cold and unfriendly. But all we need to do is to adapt our brains to 'feel' towards our mechanical dogs the way we now feel towards our Cocker Spaniel. Ask Jay Leno. Lots of men have the warmest feelings towards their classic cars. In fact on TV there are more 'car' shows than 'dog' shows. The dogs of the near future will - like us - also be robots.
  6. If kids can be engineered to be homo-free, I wonder how many parents would opt for that.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad

    If kids can be engineered to be homo-free, I wonder how many parents would opt for that.
     
    99% -- when it comes to their *own* kids, people aren't as brain addled at they appear.

    One thing i'm very much looking forward to is the end of this period of prevert ascendancy. But--if you find Cochran persuasive--it's more likely to be a question of finding (and blocking) a "gay germ" than a "gay gene".

    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/depths-of-madness/
    https://www.unz.com/jman/greg-cochrans-gay-germ-hypothesis-an-exercise-in-the-power-of-germs/
  7. The problem with dog-breeding is INbreeding.

    Dogs got muslimized.

    • Replies: @Not Raul
    Inbreeding has destroyed a lot of breeds.

    That's what happened to German Shepherds after "Rin Tin Tin" made the breed too popular for its own good.

    Inbreeding also occurs when a breed isn't popular enough. It happened to the Parsis and the Samaritans.

    There must be some optimal level of breed popularity to prevent too much inbreeding. Not too popular, not too unpopular; an Aristotelian Golden Mean.
    , @The Anti-Gnostic
    I have a hypothesis about this. From watching the Westminster dog show, the American Kennel Club seems to be dominated by women and gay men. Gays and their female friends are going to be more concerned with the aesthetics of the show ring than functionality.

    What women and homosexuals enter, men leave. Men who love the German Shepherd dog breed have long since moved on to schutzhund competition. I imagine hunters have their own networks for pointers and retrievers, and there are many and well-organized herding competitions.

    See also, the Episcopal priesthood and Broadway.
    , @UncleSam13
    My great-grandparents bred dogs. One of them they bred larger while trying to breed out bad genetic traits. As it turned out their dogs were twice the breed standard size when they mostly got those problems out.

    Nothing else, other than an example of how what we think were doing may not be the what we should do.
  8. Seems like two different things to me. I might be out of my depth here (not one of your “Hogwarts” commenters), but I think genetic engineering will benefit humanity greatly, although I’m certain there will be more than a few horrific bumps in the road.

    It’ll have to, we’re screwed if it doesn’t. Without selection pressures, won’t our species degrade genetically until most people are born with some sort of serious physical or mental deficiency? Hasn’t this process been ongoing since Homo Sapiens first arose? From what I understand, every generation is a little weaker and more fragile than the last.

  9. Obama’s sell out to become Trump’s next sellout.

    “Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says there will be no “game playing” from the US on its commitment to resettle refugees in limbo on Nauru and Manus Island.” – You know like Obama gave his word.

    Peter Dutton: US Not ‘Game Playing’ On Manus Island, Nauru Refugee Deal
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/04/22/peter-dutton-us-not-game-playing-on-manus-island-nauru-refug_a_22051214/

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Maybe some constitutional law scholar can explain this to me...

    An ancient principle of government is that no parliament/legislature/executive/king/whatever can bind the hands of a future parliament/etc. In other words, man cannot make a law that man cannot unmake.

    So why isn't Trump's "no" as good as Obama's "yes" in regard to these fake refugees?

    Obama didn't create a treaty: that would have required 2/3 of the Senate. He didn't create a law: that's the legislature's job. He didn't even issue an Executive Order: Trump could just issue his own to rescind it as he has already done with other Obama EOs.

    But Obama "gave his word" and now it is impossible--IMPOSSIBLE, I TELL YOU, to change anything!?!?! Obama is supposed to be some sort of god now, whose actions are un-undoable by mere mortals?!?!?

    Maybe there's some legal nuance I'm missing here, but this really looks like nothing more than standard leftist Kaa-hypnosis.

    ssssssss...Obama gave hisss word...now we are all helplesss....impossssible to change....obey...OBEY!!!!SSSSS

    https://youtu.be/1WpCy6b_dZ8?t=30s
    , @anon
    We're taking a bunch of Haitians holed up in Costa Rica, and you're getting 1,200 Iraqi/Afghan/Pakistani rapists held on Manus Island.
    Sounds like a losing deal for Aussies, the Press in Australia is still calling them ''Costa Ricans''.
  10. Aren’t sperm donor banks essentially genetic engineering? Women can choose a donor with whatever features they like. It would be an interesting study to see if the kids turned out how the mothers had hoped.

    • Agree: Travis
    • Replies: @Not Raul
    Some women hope that sperm banks are like genetic engineering.

    Sometimes they don't get what they think that they're paying for.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/great-moments-in-lesbian-eugenics/
    , @Kaz
    Yep.

    Imagine if we went really far with it.

    Men would be 7ft+ tall and they would suffer from awful joint issues, but hey, it's what women want!
  11. @Anon
    "This history does not make me optimistic about genetically engineering humans."

    This is how humans will be made in the future.

    There will be a cyber-glass. A man will put his finger on it and leave a smudge. The smudge will carry some of his DNA. And then the woman will put her finger on the glass, and her smudge will mix with the man's smudge. The cyber-glass will read the DNA programming of the two smudges and feed the reading to Artificial Intelligence.

    And then, the A.I. will offer 100 possible combinations of two smudges. Parents will choose one of the combinations. And then, the A.I. will allow the parents to edit out certain features they don't like. And then, the parents will be able to gene-photo-shop the kid-to-be by adding additional genetic features offered by A.I. So, if the parents want to give the kid a bit of Sean Connery flair, you can add Connerish lips and eyebrows.

    And then, the kid will develop in an artificial womb and pop out in 9 months.

    I want better resistance to heat and cold.

  12. Real dogs are working dogs, or closely resemble working dogs. Many animals that are called “dogs” are perversions of nature. Things that should not be.

  13. @Broski
    Do you really want your dog to be able to jump 8.5 ft walls?

    There are thousands of police departments around the world that would be very interested in that ability. Fleeing suspects climb over walls sometimes.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    Indeed. Here in Hong Kong the police have switched from German to Belgian Shepherds. The latter have a more normal doggie profile, and are reputed to be much healthier as well.

    Seeing all these photos and videos of GSDs makes me sad. We Calvinists had a police-reject GSD for a decade. He was a sweetheart, incredibly intelligent, and pretty athletic in his youth -- he could soar over a waist-high fence like a gazelle. But he then suffered years of various health problems, and was done in by the bad hips related to that stupid sloping back. What a tragedy that idiotic affectation became the obsession of those breeding and showing GSDs!
    , @Just some cop
    Police dogs are almost exclusively Czech, where the breeds are still working dogs. Lots of Belgian malmeutes (spelling?). All the cops talk to their dogs in Czech, too, which is kind of funny.
  14. @(((King Curtis)))
    Aren't sperm donor banks essentially genetic engineering? Women can choose a donor with whatever features they like. It would be an interesting study to see if the kids turned out how the mothers had hoped.

    Some women hope that sperm banks are like genetic engineering.

    Sometimes they don’t get what they think that they’re paying for.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/great-moments-in-lesbian-eugenics/

  15. Someone recently posted this video:

    Who buys these things?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks.
    , @M_Young
    Serbs or Croats or Bosniaks, apparently.
  16. I agree with Steve, but it took a lot of selective mating to get to the old German Shepard as well.

  17. @Anon
    The problem with dog-breeding is INbreeding.

    Dogs got muslimized.

    Inbreeding has destroyed a lot of breeds.

    That’s what happened to German Shepherds after “Rin Tin Tin” made the breed too popular for its own good.

    Inbreeding also occurs when a breed isn’t popular enough. It happened to the Parsis and the Samaritans.

    There must be some optimal level of breed popularity to prevent too much inbreeding. Not too popular, not too unpopular; an Aristotelian Golden Mean.

    • Replies: @snorlax
    It's rapid changes in a breed's popularity that do damage; formerly-obscure Dalmatians were ruined by 101 Dalmatians, but collies weren't hurt that much by Lassie because they were already fairly popular.
    , @HA
    ">Inbreeding has destroyed a lot of breeds. That’s what happened to German Shepherds after “Rin Tin Tin”"

    No, the problem is much worse than inbreeding. The sloping back in GSD's was actively bred in and is now the show-ring standard. The same goes for the Rhodesian Ridgeback's ridge (though at least that was accidental in origin), and the bulldog's/pug's/boxer's snout, and the Basset and bloodhounds excessive skin, and the Dalmatian's spots.

    All of these characteristics of the breed are associated with debilitating disorders (in the bulldog's case, they are the disorders). What's more, Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies without the ridge -- i.e. the "healthy ones" -- were frequently culled. And even "good" traits can be debilitating (e.g. the border collie's enhanced intelligence comes with an increased incidence of epilepsy).

    Bad breeding does aggravate some problems -- a large dog is going to be prone to hip dysplasia just by virtue of its size, but good breeding can at least reduce the incidence -- but many of the problems that have come along are there by design.

  18. @candid_observer
    The problem is that virtually everything we might want to genetically engineer is going to be nigh impossible to do so in a predictable way.

    The biggest problem of course is that almost all the traits we care about -- obviously now including socially relevant traits like IQ, but also, it seems, most diseases -- are affected by hundreds to many thousands of loci in the genome. CRISPR may be good, but it's nowhere near that good and reliable -- nor would we even be able to predict the outcome if we succeeded in tweaking just the sites we want.

    I'd guess that the only method that might work in a fairly predictable way would be those that involve choosing the best zygote (or the best gametes?) from among those generated by a couple.

    What you are looking for is called iterated selection. Not just choose from the best zygote that parents can naturally produce, but select from the best zygote that that zygote can produce.
    https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Iterated_embryo_selection

  19. It’s depressing to see all the inbred pooches of today. I’m nearly 60. As a kid almost all dogs were normal and required very little maintenance. Nowadays is veterinarian paradise since the breakdown of pedigree mutts is a predictable kerCHING guaranteeing that second home somewhere bright and sunny.
    Plus most breeds have slightly smaller IQs than my mother in law and are twice as nasty.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous

    twice as nasty.
     
    One interesting thing about Japan is that the dogs are mostly as placid as the people. The native Akita breed sometimes barks (usually at foreigners, as they should), but other breeds are usually silent and docile.

    This is an accurate observation. I leave it to other commenters to speculate on the reason for the behavioral differences from the US.
  20. I won’t comment on your (Steve’s) prediction, although I agree with you, but do wish to express my honest appreciation for your having called attention to the terrible fate that has befallen the German Shepherd. Every time I see one of those barely-mobile abominations at the local dog beach I feel a mixed sense of sorrow and fury. Those poor beasts. Vanity is a cruel master.

    • Replies: @Jeff
    Yes, and it didn't take that long (40 or 50 years?) to ruin the breed.

    It completely blows my mind that people want GSs with such profound skeletal issues.

    I'm going to be getting a couple of Bernese Mountain Dog pups in a few months. I'll tell the breeder that I don't care about the coloring of their fur, nor whether they're show worthy. I want pups with no signs of skeletal or muscle issues. (and I already know she does her best to avoid other genetic-based issues) If they're active, inquisitive, and gregarious, all the better.
    , @Kylie
    I feel the same way about most English Bulldogs I see.
  21. @Broski
    Do you really want your dog to be able to jump 8.5 ft walls?

    Mine can clear a two meter wall easily.

  22. There is a difference between desirable traits and *-desirable traits, similar to the difference between behaviors that democracies like and behaviors that preserve democracy, etc.

    A desirable trait is a trait that conserves the breed and maintains its health and usefulness; a *-desirable trait is something sought after for other reasons, with its sole criterion being the satisfaction of some fancy of the human observer.

    Since human fancies do not encompass the actual wellbeing of the breed, aiming for their satisfaction is never “eugenic” in the genuine sense of the word. This point, developed at length and contextualized, is part of my integrated suite of arguments for why genetic engineering will never work at all.

    However, in a broader sense, it also serves to indicate just why I maintain that “genetic engineering” itself is fundamentally a meaningless combination of words. The organism is a prime fact, a “thing-in-itself,” a monad, which is not capable of being dissected or dissolved into sub-components. From this creature the human observer, using his five senses and his Sapir-Whorf tessellated thought processes, abstracts certain characteristics which he deems “traits.” But the true ontological status of these “traits” is not immediately revealed by such a course of abstraction, nor are their relations to the rest of the organism, nor are their causal dependencies on definite amino acid sequences. The latter, indeed, is nowhere established by evidence; it is simply asserted according to the dominant explanatory paradigm.

    A true trait of the organism, a trait of the first order, can only be something that is (as it were) a facet of its monadic existence; and thus a trait of the first order can only be grasped by an untainted phenomenological process which actually discloses this existence. Such traits, by their very nature, would not be quantifiable nor even amenable to ordinary scientific description, but would perhaps lend themselves to poetry and metaphor. The “sneakiness” of the coyote is a true race-trait of the species, as is the caginess of the dove, the stealth of the owl, etc. Those impression which human observers abstract from sensory information and quantify are traits of the second order, or what we might call accidental traits. It is theses secondary traits upon which breeders set their fancy, which, being exaggerated beyond all proportion, redound to the detriment of the breed. In neither case, between observed traits and genomic sequences, is there any relation of strict dependence. This is true by definition for traits of the first order; and as should be clear from the above description, the genomic sequence of the organism is itself only a “trait”—of the second order.

    Secondary traits can be bred for in such a way that the organism’s usefulness to man is enhanced, but always this results in impaired health for the breed. In addition the example of the German Shepherd, I would also cite the polyploidy of most cereal crops and their feebleness compared to the wild type. “Usefulness-to-man” is rather an arch-description encompassing all abstracted secondary traits, and therefore forever injurious to the health of the species, including a fortiori the human species.

    • Replies: @Yak-15
    All traits except for big breasts
  23. @Not Raul
    Inbreeding has destroyed a lot of breeds.

    That's what happened to German Shepherds after "Rin Tin Tin" made the breed too popular for its own good.

    Inbreeding also occurs when a breed isn't popular enough. It happened to the Parsis and the Samaritans.

    There must be some optimal level of breed popularity to prevent too much inbreeding. Not too popular, not too unpopular; an Aristotelian Golden Mean.

    It’s rapid changes in a breed’s popularity that do damage; formerly-obscure Dalmatians were ruined by 101 Dalmatians, but collies weren’t hurt that much by Lassie because they were already fairly popular.

    • Replies: @Not Raul
    Perhaps; but I've never seen a Rough Collie muster and drove, and I've seen Border Collies and Kelpies do so many times.
  24. @Nonterra
    Someone recently posted this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1LjkGP091g

    Who buys these things?

    Thanks.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    grumble.whine.

    :)
  25. @Anon
    "This history does not make me optimistic about genetically engineering humans."

    This is how humans will be made in the future.

    There will be a cyber-glass. A man will put his finger on it and leave a smudge. The smudge will carry some of his DNA. And then the woman will put her finger on the glass, and her smudge will mix with the man's smudge. The cyber-glass will read the DNA programming of the two smudges and feed the reading to Artificial Intelligence.

    And then, the A.I. will offer 100 possible combinations of two smudges. Parents will choose one of the combinations. And then, the A.I. will allow the parents to edit out certain features they don't like. And then, the parents will be able to gene-photo-shop the kid-to-be by adding additional genetic features offered by A.I. So, if the parents want to give the kid a bit of Sean Connery flair, you can add Connerish lips and eyebrows.

    And then, the kid will develop in an artificial womb and pop out in 9 months.

    In the year twenty-five, twenty-five…

    • Replies: @2Mintzin1
    Thank you for reminding me of that terrible song.
    If I was Hal the Computer, that is one memory I would not mind being deleted.

    (Daisy, Daisy...)
  26. Sailer bait — https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/11/ukrainian-women-samaritans-mount-gerizim?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Israeli immigration policy: shoot black Jews at the border, sterilize the ones that get through, fly in white gentiles and convert them (if necessary).

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Isn't that the immigration policy that any male-dominated society would pursue if it could?
    , @kaganovitch
    Who are these black Jews that the Israelis are allegedly shooting at the border?
  27. HA says:
    @Not Raul
    Inbreeding has destroyed a lot of breeds.

    That's what happened to German Shepherds after "Rin Tin Tin" made the breed too popular for its own good.

    Inbreeding also occurs when a breed isn't popular enough. It happened to the Parsis and the Samaritans.

    There must be some optimal level of breed popularity to prevent too much inbreeding. Not too popular, not too unpopular; an Aristotelian Golden Mean.

    >Inbreeding has destroyed a lot of breeds. That’s what happened to German Shepherds after “Rin Tin Tin””

    No, the problem is much worse than inbreeding. The sloping back in GSD’s was actively bred in and is now the show-ring standard. The same goes for the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s ridge (though at least that was accidental in origin), and the bulldog’s/pug’s/boxer’s snout, and the Basset and bloodhounds excessive skin, and the Dalmatian’s spots.

    All of these characteristics of the breed are associated with debilitating disorders (in the bulldog’s case, they are the disorders). What’s more, Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies without the ridge — i.e. the “healthy ones” — were frequently culled. And even “good” traits can be debilitating (e.g. the border collie’s enhanced intelligence comes with an increased incidence of epilepsy).

    Bad breeding does aggravate some problems — a large dog is going to be prone to hip dysplasia just by virtue of its size, but good breeding can at least reduce the incidence — but many of the problems that have come along are there by design.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    A small positive aspect of the Cold War was that German shepherds in East Germany were kept isolated from breeding efforts in the West, and bred for work—such as patrolling the Berlin Wall.

    "DDR lines" German Shepherds are a good way to measure how badly off-track German Shepherd breeding went off.

    http://www.ddrlegends.com/nobleheritage.html
    , @MB
    I understood that the Germans ruthlessly cull the slope backed German Shepherds and consequently the dogs don't have the problems the American ones do.
  28. @snorlax
    It's rapid changes in a breed's popularity that do damage; formerly-obscure Dalmatians were ruined by 101 Dalmatians, but collies weren't hurt that much by Lassie because they were already fairly popular.

    Perhaps; but I’ve never seen a Rough Collie muster and drove, and I’ve seen Border Collies and Kelpies do so many times.

    • Replies: @snorlax
    I didn't say no damage, just less.
  29. @ThreeCranes
    I won't comment on your (Steve's) prediction, although I agree with you, but do wish to express my honest appreciation for your having called attention to the terrible fate that has befallen the German Shepherd. Every time I see one of those barely-mobile abominations at the local dog beach I feel a mixed sense of sorrow and fury. Those poor beasts. Vanity is a cruel master.

    Yes, and it didn’t take that long (40 or 50 years?) to ruin the breed.

    It completely blows my mind that people want GSs with such profound skeletal issues.

    I’m going to be getting a couple of Bernese Mountain Dog pups in a few months. I’ll tell the breeder that I don’t care about the coloring of their fur, nor whether they’re show worthy. I want pups with no signs of skeletal or muscle issues. (and I already know she does her best to avoid other genetic-based issues) If they’re active, inquisitive, and gregarious, all the better.

  30. We all know the British love dogs but it is nevertheless interesting to see that they actually have a report issued by a Parliamentary committee, no less, on the question of messed up dog breeding.

    http://www.apgaw.org/data/sites/1/PDFs/a-healthier-future-for-pedigree-dogs.pdf

  31. @HA
    ">Inbreeding has destroyed a lot of breeds. That’s what happened to German Shepherds after “Rin Tin Tin”"

    No, the problem is much worse than inbreeding. The sloping back in GSD's was actively bred in and is now the show-ring standard. The same goes for the Rhodesian Ridgeback's ridge (though at least that was accidental in origin), and the bulldog's/pug's/boxer's snout, and the Basset and bloodhounds excessive skin, and the Dalmatian's spots.

    All of these characteristics of the breed are associated with debilitating disorders (in the bulldog's case, they are the disorders). What's more, Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies without the ridge -- i.e. the "healthy ones" -- were frequently culled. And even "good" traits can be debilitating (e.g. the border collie's enhanced intelligence comes with an increased incidence of epilepsy).

    Bad breeding does aggravate some problems -- a large dog is going to be prone to hip dysplasia just by virtue of its size, but good breeding can at least reduce the incidence -- but many of the problems that have come along are there by design.

    A small positive aspect of the Cold War was that German shepherds in East Germany were kept isolated from breeding efforts in the West, and bred for work—such as patrolling the Berlin Wall.

    “DDR lines” German Shepherds are a good way to measure how badly off-track German Shepherd breeding went off.

    http://www.ddrlegends.com/nobleheritage.html

    • Replies: @fnn
    Czech lines of GSDs also have a good reputation. At least that was true around the time of the end of the Cold War. Cold War has been over for many years now, a lot of time for scammers, amoral profiteers and other varieties of low-lifes to get into the act. Probably safe to get a dog direct from
    Germany, where breed regulation is strong and has the force of law.
  32. @Not Raul
    There are thousands of police departments around the world that would be very interested in that ability. Fleeing suspects climb over walls sometimes.

    Indeed. Here in Hong Kong the police have switched from German to Belgian Shepherds. The latter have a more normal doggie profile, and are reputed to be much healthier as well.

    Seeing all these photos and videos of GSDs makes me sad. We Calvinists had a police-reject GSD for a decade. He was a sweetheart, incredibly intelligent, and pretty athletic in his youth — he could soar over a waist-high fence like a gazelle. But he then suffered years of various health problems, and was done in by the bad hips related to that stupid sloping back. What a tragedy that idiotic affectation became the obsession of those breeding and showing GSDs!

    • Replies: @2Mintzin1
    Yup. Hip dysplasia (sp. ?) is a huge problem, especially with breeds that have been bred for size (GSDs, even Labs).
    Rumor has it that American police department buy their dogs from European breeders, not American. to avoid these problems.

    Even some of the less popular sporting dogs, like Brittanys, are starting to have problems as a result of poor breeding.
    , @Chief Seattle
    My friend had a German Shepard when we were kids. It would reliably follow him to school despite the fact that it was at least a mile and a half away and he took the bus. That dog was awesome. I had no idea the breed was ruined, I still dream of getting some acreage and a GSD.
  33. We just don’t know enough.

    I think we should limit eugenics to mild attempts to encourage people of 100IQ+ to have more children. And people below 100IQ to have fewer.

    • Replies: @Yak-15
    Life used to control for those variables. Rampant liberalism is inherently disgenic and any society following its tenets is doomed to failure.
  34. @Not Raul
    Perhaps; but I've never seen a Rough Collie muster and drove, and I've seen Border Collies and Kelpies do so many times.

    I didn’t say no damage, just less.

  35. @Intelligent Dasein
    There is a difference between desirable traits and *-desirable traits, similar to the difference between behaviors that democracies like and behaviors that preserve democracy, etc.

    A desirable trait is a trait that conserves the breed and maintains its health and usefulness; a *-desirable trait is something sought after for other reasons, with its sole criterion being the satisfaction of some fancy of the human observer.

    Since human fancies do not encompass the actual wellbeing of the breed, aiming for their satisfaction is never "eugenic" in the genuine sense of the word. This point, developed at length and contextualized, is part of my integrated suite of arguments for why genetic engineering will never work at all.

    However, in a broader sense, it also serves to indicate just why I maintain that "genetic engineering" itself is fundamentally a meaningless combination of words. The organism is a prime fact, a "thing-in-itself," a monad, which is not capable of being dissected or dissolved into sub-components. From this creature the human observer, using his five senses and his Sapir-Whorf tessellated thought processes, abstracts certain characteristics which he deems "traits." But the true ontological status of these "traits" is not immediately revealed by such a course of abstraction, nor are their relations to the rest of the organism, nor are their causal dependencies on definite amino acid sequences. The latter, indeed, is nowhere established by evidence; it is simply asserted according to the dominant explanatory paradigm.

    A true trait of the organism, a trait of the first order, can only be something that is (as it were) a facet of its monadic existence; and thus a trait of the first order can only be grasped by an untainted phenomenological process which actually discloses this existence. Such traits, by their very nature, would not be quantifiable nor even amenable to ordinary scientific description, but would perhaps lend themselves to poetry and metaphor. The "sneakiness" of the coyote is a true race-trait of the species, as is the caginess of the dove, the stealth of the owl, etc. Those impression which human observers abstract from sensory information and quantify are traits of the second order, or what we might call accidental traits. It is theses secondary traits upon which breeders set their fancy, which, being exaggerated beyond all proportion, redound to the detriment of the breed. In neither case, between observed traits and genomic sequences, is there any relation of strict dependence. This is true by definition for traits of the first order; and as should be clear from the above description, the genomic sequence of the organism is itself only a "trait"---of the second order.

    Secondary traits can be bred for in such a way that the organism's usefulness to man is enhanced, but always this results in impaired health for the breed. In addition the example of the German Shepherd, I would also cite the polyploidy of most cereal crops and their feebleness compared to the wild type. "Usefulness-to-man" is rather an arch-description encompassing all abstracted secondary traits, and therefore forever injurious to the health of the species, including a fortiori the human species.

    All traits except for big breasts

  36. anon • Disclaimer says:

    This history does not make me optimistic about genetically engineering humans.

    The personality profile and life story of Mark Zuckerberg, who is probably the kind of person most rich people want to copy, does not make me optimistic about genetically engineering humans.

    It’s not something I think about very often, but there was something to be said for the dogs of my childhood, which were just, you know, dogs. That you’d get as puppies for free from some farmer that you found in the classified ads. Do people even do that anymore?

  37. @Lurker
    We just don't know enough.

    I think we should limit eugenics to mild attempts to encourage people of 100IQ+ to have more children. And people below 100IQ to have fewer.

    Life used to control for those variables. Rampant liberalism is inherently disgenic and any society following its tenets is doomed to failure.

  38. @Nonterra
    Someone recently posted this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1LjkGP091g

    Who buys these things?

    Serbs or Croats or Bosniaks, apparently.

  39. Inbreeding also occurs when a breed isn’t popular enough. It happened to the Parsis and the Samaritans.

    Aren’t present day Palestinians descendants of the Biblical Samaritans?

    Secondary traits can be bred for in such a way that the organism’s usefulness to man is enhanced, but always this results in impaired health for the breed.

    What’s the problem with that, particularly if you’re referring to plant life? Please explain.

    In addition the example of the German Shepherd, I would also cite the polyploidy of most cereal crops and their feebleness compared to the wild type. “Usefulness-to-man” is rather an arch-description encompassing all abstracted secondary traits, and therefore forever injurious to the health of the species, including a fortiori the human species.

    Such pretentious bulls** you’re spouting. Why don’t you go a start a commune of like-minded people. Grow all your own food in the form of heirloom species of grain and fruits. Report back to us in a generation or two about the success of your Utopia.

    Your declaration of unspoiled species purism is snob display, not totally dissimilar to dog inbreeding to win dog shows.

  40. @Not Raul
    Sailer bait -- https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/11/ukrainian-women-samaritans-mount-gerizim?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Israeli immigration policy: shoot black Jews at the border, sterilize the ones that get through, fly in white gentiles and convert them (if necessary).

    Isn’t that the immigration policy that any male-dominated society would pursue if it could?

  41. I think it’s important to point out (as Caen Elegans does in the comments to his original essay) that Working Line and Show Line German Shepherds are “essentially different populations” and that his comments about the GSD being a “ruined breed” apply to the Show Lines.

    Working Line GSD are selectively bred to do real and necessary jobs in protection, search, etc. rather than for appearance. As a result, they are superior dogs; dogs for which there are no good substitutes for many types of jobs; healthy, smart, athletic, tireless, loyal and loving toward their human masters.

    My point is that selective breeding with the right goal in mind (the ability to perform practical productive work) has produced a Working Line GSD which is preferred for many different types of real work and as a result does not suffer from the same types of genetic problems caused by selective breeding solely for appearance.

    I’m not sure what this has to do with human genetic engineering other than to say that there are likely to be some disasters and some successes, just as with dog breeding.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri

    "I’m not sure what this has to do with human genetic engineering"
     
    How about: people who breed (whether dogs or humans) for superficial or narcissistic reasons shouldn't be doing it.
  42. @Anon
    If kids can be engineered to be homo-free, I wonder how many parents would opt for that.

    If kids can be engineered to be homo-free, I wonder how many parents would opt for that.

    99% — when it comes to their *own* kids, people aren’t as brain addled at they appear.

    One thing i’m very much looking forward to is the end of this period of prevert ascendancy. But–if you find Cochran persuasive–it’s more likely to be a question of finding (and blocking) a “gay germ” than a “gay gene”.

    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/depths-of-madness/
    https://www.unz.com/jman/greg-cochrans-gay-germ-hypothesis-an-exercise-in-the-power-of-germs/

    • Replies: @TWS
    What makes you think perverts don't want pervert children.
  43. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Shepherd_Dog

    That old GSD picture resembles somewhat the rare Dutch Shepard, which is used in police departments near me.

    “The Dutch Shepherd remains nearly the same dog it was more than 100 years ago.”

  44. Just eliminating defects is a good start.

  45. The unsullied, ur-Paleo diet?

    Writing in the journal Nature, Dobney and an international team of colleagues describe how they analysed ancient DNA – from microbes and food debris – preserved in the dental tartar, or calculus, of three Neanderthals dating from 42,000 to 50,000 years ago. Two of the individuals were from the El Sidrón cave in Spain while one was from the Spy Cave in Belgium.

    The results reveal that northern Neanderthals had a wide-ranging diet, with evidence of a mushroom known as grey shag in their tartar, together with traces of woolly rhinoceros and wild sheep. ( Note the very scientific sample size. )

    By contrast Neanderthals from El Sidrón showed no evidence of meat eating – instead they appear to have survived on a mixture of forest moss, pine nuts and a mushroom known as split gill.

    The difference was further backed up by DNA-based analysis of the diversity and make-up of microbial communities that had lived in the Neanderthals’ mouths.

    The findings support previous studies suggesting that the Neanderthals of El Sidrón ate little meat, although Dobney cautioned against drawing broader conclusions, citing the small sample size of the latest study. “I hesitate to say that we have clear, definitive proof that Neanderthals in Spain were vegetarian,” he said.

    Indeed, research looking at marks on the bones of Neanderthals from El Sidrón has suggested they might been the victims of cannibalism. While Dobney does not rule out the possibility, he points out that the two Neanderthals in the latest study are unlikely to have been feasting on their relatives. …

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/mar/08/neanderthal-dental-tartar-reveals-plant-based-diet-and-drugs

  46. @AnotherDad

    If kids can be engineered to be homo-free, I wonder how many parents would opt for that.
     
    99% -- when it comes to their *own* kids, people aren't as brain addled at they appear.

    One thing i'm very much looking forward to is the end of this period of prevert ascendancy. But--if you find Cochran persuasive--it's more likely to be a question of finding (and blocking) a "gay germ" than a "gay gene".

    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/depths-of-madness/
    https://www.unz.com/jman/greg-cochrans-gay-germ-hypothesis-an-exercise-in-the-power-of-germs/

    What makes you think perverts don’t want pervert children.

  47. @George
    Obama's sell out to become Trump's next sellout.

    "Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says there will be no "game playing" from the US on its commitment to resettle refugees in limbo on Nauru and Manus Island." - You know like Obama gave his word.

    Peter Dutton: US Not 'Game Playing' On Manus Island, Nauru Refugee Deal
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/04/22/peter-dutton-us-not-game-playing-on-manus-island-nauru-refug_a_22051214/

    Maybe some constitutional law scholar can explain this to me…

    An ancient principle of government is that no parliament/legislature/executive/king/whatever can bind the hands of a future parliament/etc. In other words, man cannot make a law that man cannot unmake.

    So why isn’t Trump’s “no” as good as Obama’s “yes” in regard to these fake refugees?

    Obama didn’t create a treaty: that would have required 2/3 of the Senate. He didn’t create a law: that’s the legislature’s job. He didn’t even issue an Executive Order: Trump could just issue his own to rescind it as he has already done with other Obama EOs.

    But Obama “gave his word” and now it is impossible–IMPOSSIBLE, I TELL YOU, to change anything!?!?! Obama is supposed to be some sort of god now, whose actions are un-undoable by mere mortals?!?!?

    Maybe there’s some legal nuance I’m missing here, but this really looks like nothing more than standard leftist Kaa-hypnosis.

    ssssssss…Obama gave hisss word…now we are all helplesss….impossssible to change….obey…OBEY!!!!SSSSS

    • Replies: @res

    An ancient principle of government is that no parliament/legislature/executive/king/whatever can bind the hands of a future parliament/etc. In other words, man cannot make a law that man cannot unmake.
     
    I'd be interested in an analysis of this idea as well. One question is whether the non-binding aspect is across or only within groups. In the US it seems to be only within (e.g. Supreme Court having final say, but being able to overrule itself).

    Here's an article from Slate (I know, but it looks reasonable and my search did not term up much, also, I'm not really knowledgeable enough here to check for bias) talking about this: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2010/07/pelosis_paradox.html
  48. @Not Raul
    Sailer bait -- https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/11/ukrainian-women-samaritans-mount-gerizim?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Israeli immigration policy: shoot black Jews at the border, sterilize the ones that get through, fly in white gentiles and convert them (if necessary).

    Who are these black Jews that the Israelis are allegedly shooting at the border?

    • Replies: @King Jamal al-Osiris Thutmose Jackson III
    They are the TRUE Jews of the Bible - not the pale, patsy, hook-nose so-called jews desceded from the cave-man white devil!

    On the Day Of Judgement you will learn who the The True Black Jew's are! And you will bow down at there feet, white so-called man!
  49. @Steve in Greensboro
    I think it’s important to point out (as Caen Elegans does in the comments to his original essay) that Working Line and Show Line German Shepherds are “essentially different populations” and that his comments about the GSD being a “ruined breed” apply to the Show Lines.

    Working Line GSD are selectively bred to do real and necessary jobs in protection, search, etc. rather than for appearance. As a result, they are superior dogs; dogs for which there are no good substitutes for many types of jobs; healthy, smart, athletic, tireless, loyal and loving toward their human masters.

    My point is that selective breeding with the right goal in mind (the ability to perform practical productive work) has produced a Working Line GSD which is preferred for many different types of real work and as a result does not suffer from the same types of genetic problems caused by selective breeding solely for appearance.

    I’m not sure what this has to do with human genetic engineering other than to say that there are likely to be some disasters and some successes, just as with dog breeding.

    “I’m not sure what this has to do with human genetic engineering”

    How about: people who breed (whether dogs or humans) for superficial or narcissistic reasons shouldn’t be doing it.

  50. @ThreeCranes
    I won't comment on your (Steve's) prediction, although I agree with you, but do wish to express my honest appreciation for your having called attention to the terrible fate that has befallen the German Shepherd. Every time I see one of those barely-mobile abominations at the local dog beach I feel a mixed sense of sorrow and fury. Those poor beasts. Vanity is a cruel master.

    I feel the same way about most English Bulldogs I see.

  51. @The Last Real Calvinist
    Indeed. Here in Hong Kong the police have switched from German to Belgian Shepherds. The latter have a more normal doggie profile, and are reputed to be much healthier as well.

    Seeing all these photos and videos of GSDs makes me sad. We Calvinists had a police-reject GSD for a decade. He was a sweetheart, incredibly intelligent, and pretty athletic in his youth -- he could soar over a waist-high fence like a gazelle. But he then suffered years of various health problems, and was done in by the bad hips related to that stupid sloping back. What a tragedy that idiotic affectation became the obsession of those breeding and showing GSDs!

    Yup. Hip dysplasia (sp. ?) is a huge problem, especially with breeds that have been bred for size (GSDs, even Labs).
    Rumor has it that American police department buy their dogs from European breeders, not American. to avoid these problems.

    Even some of the less popular sporting dogs, like Brittanys, are starting to have problems as a result of poor breeding.

  52. @TWS
    In the year twenty-five, twenty-five...

    Thank you for reminding me of that terrible song.
    If I was Hal the Computer, that is one memory I would not mind being deleted.

    (Daisy, Daisy…)

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    Aw come on. That's a pretty good tune! I remember hearing it in the piped-in music at a gas station one day. LOL.

    Zager went on to guitar manufacturing. I had some very friendly correspondence with his son. He says they're doing fine and his dad is still proud of that song.
  53. @HA
    ">Inbreeding has destroyed a lot of breeds. That’s what happened to German Shepherds after “Rin Tin Tin”"

    No, the problem is much worse than inbreeding. The sloping back in GSD's was actively bred in and is now the show-ring standard. The same goes for the Rhodesian Ridgeback's ridge (though at least that was accidental in origin), and the bulldog's/pug's/boxer's snout, and the Basset and bloodhounds excessive skin, and the Dalmatian's spots.

    All of these characteristics of the breed are associated with debilitating disorders (in the bulldog's case, they are the disorders). What's more, Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies without the ridge -- i.e. the "healthy ones" -- were frequently culled. And even "good" traits can be debilitating (e.g. the border collie's enhanced intelligence comes with an increased incidence of epilepsy).

    Bad breeding does aggravate some problems -- a large dog is going to be prone to hip dysplasia just by virtue of its size, but good breeding can at least reduce the incidence -- but many of the problems that have come along are there by design.

    I understood that the Germans ruthlessly cull the slope backed German Shepherds and consequently the dogs don’t have the problems the American ones do.

    • Replies: @fnn
    I thought the Germans were completely lacking in resistance to Americanization.
    , @HA
    The German "show lines" also have rabbit backs, though dogs bought from any high-end breeder, be they in Germany or in the US, are at least going to be less prone to the kind of obvious limb and hip deformities one sees in puppy mills. Some of the working lines also show it as well (see the same link), although it's less extreme. This deformity has no utilitarian function (apart from endowing the dogs with an allegedly "flowing" gait) and the dogs that are now displacing German Shepherds outside the show ring (Malinois, Dutch Shepherds) seem to do fine without that or some other cosmetic "enhancement", at least for the time being, but I would guess the days of the Malinois are numbered.

    As for rough collies, which someone mentioned above, someone decided to introduce Russian wolfhounds (aka borzoi) into the breed a few decades ago, giving many modern collies the weird stopless "egg-shaped" foreheads one also sees in bull terriers. Borzoi are elegant and graceful, which is why the introduction was made, but as dogs go, they're exceedingly dumb (since a breed doesn't need to obey commands particularly well in order to chase game or any other activities they would naturally do anyway, and chasing game was the borzoi's primary function), and as a result, the herding utility of the rough collie has likewise dissipated.

  54. @The Last Real Calvinist
    Indeed. Here in Hong Kong the police have switched from German to Belgian Shepherds. The latter have a more normal doggie profile, and are reputed to be much healthier as well.

    Seeing all these photos and videos of GSDs makes me sad. We Calvinists had a police-reject GSD for a decade. He was a sweetheart, incredibly intelligent, and pretty athletic in his youth -- he could soar over a waist-high fence like a gazelle. But he then suffered years of various health problems, and was done in by the bad hips related to that stupid sloping back. What a tragedy that idiotic affectation became the obsession of those breeding and showing GSDs!

    My friend had a German Shepard when we were kids. It would reliably follow him to school despite the fact that it was at least a mile and a half away and he took the bus. That dog was awesome. I had no idea the breed was ruined, I still dream of getting some acreage and a GSD.

  55. @(((King Curtis)))
    Aren't sperm donor banks essentially genetic engineering? Women can choose a donor with whatever features they like. It would be an interesting study to see if the kids turned out how the mothers had hoped.

    Yep.

    Imagine if we went really far with it.

    Men would be 7ft+ tall and they would suffer from awful joint issues, but hey, it’s what women want!

  56. @kaganovitch
    Who are these black Jews that the Israelis are allegedly shooting at the border?

    They are the TRUE Jews of the Bible – not the pale, patsy, hook-nose so-called jews desceded from the cave-man white devil!

    On the Day Of Judgement you will learn who the The True Black Jew’s are! And you will bow down at there feet, white so-called man!

  57. @Cortes
    It's depressing to see all the inbred pooches of today. I'm nearly 60. As a kid almost all dogs were normal and required very little maintenance. Nowadays is veterinarian paradise since the breakdown of pedigree mutts is a predictable kerCHING guaranteeing that second home somewhere bright and sunny.
    Plus most breeds have slightly smaller IQs than my mother in law and are twice as nasty.

    twice as nasty.

    One interesting thing about Japan is that the dogs are mostly as placid as the people. The native Akita breed sometimes barks (usually at foreigners, as they should), but other breeds are usually silent and docile.

    This is an accurate observation. I leave it to other commenters to speculate on the reason for the behavioral differences from the US.

    • Replies: @Sean
    Japanese like dogs who are stoic--like the Japanese. I've read their fighting dogs, the Tosa Inu, don't growl or yelp much even when they are tearing each other to pieces.
  58. @George
    Obama's sell out to become Trump's next sellout.

    "Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says there will be no "game playing" from the US on its commitment to resettle refugees in limbo on Nauru and Manus Island." - You know like Obama gave his word.

    Peter Dutton: US Not 'Game Playing' On Manus Island, Nauru Refugee Deal
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/04/22/peter-dutton-us-not-game-playing-on-manus-island-nauru-refug_a_22051214/

    We’re taking a bunch of Haitians holed up in Costa Rica, and you’re getting 1,200 Iraqi/Afghan/Pakistani rapists held on Manus Island.
    Sounds like a losing deal for Aussies, the Press in Australia is still calling them ”Costa Ricans”.

  59. @Broski
    Do you really want your dog to be able to jump 8.5 ft walls?

    A dog can do all kinds of things, but it doesn’t do them because if that would be breaking the master’s rules. Genetic domestication does reduce the physical ability while increasing sociability and obedience, S0 a dog powerful enough to jump a nine foot fence would probably be a little less worried of the mater’s rules and very, very suspicious of strangers (ie bite them at the drop of a hat).

  60. @Chrisnonymous

    twice as nasty.
     
    One interesting thing about Japan is that the dogs are mostly as placid as the people. The native Akita breed sometimes barks (usually at foreigners, as they should), but other breeds are usually silent and docile.

    This is an accurate observation. I leave it to other commenters to speculate on the reason for the behavioral differences from the US.

    Japanese like dogs who are stoic–like the Japanese. I’ve read their fighting dogs, the Tosa Inu, don’t growl or yelp much even when they are tearing each other to pieces.

  61. @PiltdownMan
    A small positive aspect of the Cold War was that German shepherds in East Germany were kept isolated from breeding efforts in the West, and bred for work—such as patrolling the Berlin Wall.

    "DDR lines" German Shepherds are a good way to measure how badly off-track German Shepherd breeding went off.

    http://www.ddrlegends.com/nobleheritage.html

    Czech lines of GSDs also have a good reputation. At least that was true around the time of the end of the Cold War. Cold War has been over for many years now, a lot of time for scammers, amoral profiteers and other varieties of low-lifes to get into the act. Probably safe to get a dog direct from
    Germany, where breed regulation is strong and has the force of law.

  62. Look at differential birthrates by SES class and country. I don’t think it’ll be worse than where we’re going now.

  63. @MB
    I understood that the Germans ruthlessly cull the slope backed German Shepherds and consequently the dogs don't have the problems the American ones do.

    I thought the Germans were completely lacking in resistance to Americanization.

  64. This is a very sad thing that breeders have done to German Shepherds. The one I grew up with forty years ago predated this and did not suffer from it. He accompanied me into young adulthood and climbed fourteen-thousand-foot peaks with me.

  65. There’s a bit of a disconnect here.

    What the public wants —pets— and the American Kennel Club (AKC) sets standards to —appearance— are a far, far cry from the working abilities and characteristics of a dog breed. The AKC knows the market and sets its standards accordingly. That the AKC dog breed changes from a working standard should surprise nobody

    . . . having been bred for many generations as pets and for the sport of conformation showing, not as herding dogs. –Wiki

    German Shepherds are a fine, healthy breed in those places where they are used for work. The AKC is not one of those places, and the urban or suburban pet stores are not either. Working dogs make really lousy pets, and the puppy mills can provide fine pets.

    Used since ~5000 BC, when the tribal enemies were eliminated due to national unity (!) Irish war dogs were re-purposed toward hunting and killing wolves. When the last wolf in the country was killed around 1800, the dogs were largely abandoned as a breed. But nationalisticpride kept the Irish Wolfhound name alive and the dogs were bred as the companion animals they are today. Nobody should be shocked when their German Shepherd dog from the pet store barks at the sheep or chases cats.

    There are ever-growing ‘rare-breed’ societies of all types, and their lists keep growing. We don’t need these breeds any more, and let them wither; often for good reason. Need a 3 foot tall chicken that needs help reproducing, but attacks the kids? Me neither.

    There is (statistically) very little need for working animals today —whether dogs, cats, pigeons, cormorants, or yaks— and the status of the breeds reflect that.

  66. German Shepherds in the past. Film of 1936 Schutzhund competition:

    • Replies: @TWS
    Thanks that is great. The DDR gsd still look and act like those natural dogs. I think they have gotten a bit more 'sharp' over the years but my uncle's Vietnam era military German shepherd was plenty sharp.
  67. Surely the root of the problem is that dogs are being bred for appearance, rather capability. Horse breeding has been somewhat successful, leading to more competition at the fastest speeds.

    Steve would point out that humans have also bred for performance at the high end, so many top athletes are the children of two athletes.

    If humans are engineered for appearance, we will get dog-like results. But I don’t expect the competitive parents who are willing to make this huge investment (not just monetary) to settle for cosmetic changes.

  68. HA says:
    @MB
    I understood that the Germans ruthlessly cull the slope backed German Shepherds and consequently the dogs don't have the problems the American ones do.

    The German “show lines” also have rabbit backs, though dogs bought from any high-end breeder, be they in Germany or in the US, are at least going to be less prone to the kind of obvious limb and hip deformities one sees in puppy mills. Some of the working lines also show it as well (see the same link), although it’s less extreme. This deformity has no utilitarian function (apart from endowing the dogs with an allegedly “flowing” gait) and the dogs that are now displacing German Shepherds outside the show ring (Malinois, Dutch Shepherds) seem to do fine without that or some other cosmetic “enhancement”, at least for the time being, but I would guess the days of the Malinois are numbered.

    As for rough collies, which someone mentioned above, someone decided to introduce Russian wolfhounds (aka borzoi) into the breed a few decades ago, giving many modern collies the weird stopless “egg-shaped” foreheads one also sees in bull terriers. Borzoi are elegant and graceful, which is why the introduction was made, but as dogs go, they’re exceedingly dumb (since a breed doesn’t need to obey commands particularly well in order to chase game or any other activities they would naturally do anyway, and chasing game was the borzoi’s primary function), and as a result, the herding utility of the rough collie has likewise dissipated.

  69. @Anon
    "This history does not make me optimistic about genetically engineering humans."

    This is how humans will be made in the future.

    There will be a cyber-glass. A man will put his finger on it and leave a smudge. The smudge will carry some of his DNA. And then the woman will put her finger on the glass, and her smudge will mix with the man's smudge. The cyber-glass will read the DNA programming of the two smudges and feed the reading to Artificial Intelligence.

    And then, the A.I. will offer 100 possible combinations of two smudges. Parents will choose one of the combinations. And then, the A.I. will allow the parents to edit out certain features they don't like. And then, the parents will be able to gene-photo-shop the kid-to-be by adding additional genetic features offered by A.I. So, if the parents want to give the kid a bit of Sean Connery flair, you can add Connerish lips and eyebrows.

    And then, the kid will develop in an artificial womb and pop out in 9 months.

    I think you have it wrong. Why bother with all that messy biology at all? Personally I want to be a robot and I imagine that given the choice most people would want to also. Biological evolution got us this far but from now on biology looks like the wrong approach to creating people.

    I could be wrong of course. Maybe people will continue to be created by biological sex – the old fashion way – indefinitely into the future. But that seems very unlikely.

    We still make bones out of calcium and phosphorus (I think) but wouldn’t we all be happier if our bones were made of better materials like carbon fiber? I picked up a urinary tract infection at my doctor’s office recently. I would not have had all that discomfort if I had a bladder made out of something that resisted bacteria better. A biological urinary bladder is a anachronism. It makes no sense whatsoever.

    So I don’t think it pays much dividends to think much about genetics or breeding anymore. These changes are happening faster than most people imagine. We are only a few years away from driverless cars. When that happens millions of Americans will no longer be needed in the economy. The Nazis in the Second World War transported most of their war materials by horse. We now have mechanical dogs that can carry a soldier’s back pack. Soon biological dogs will be like horse are today – rare except in boutique settings.

    We revolt at the idea of a mechanical dog – they are so cold and unfriendly. But all we need to do is to adapt our brains to ‘feel’ towards our mechanical dogs the way we now feel towards our Cocker Spaniel. Ask Jay Leno. Lots of men have the warmest feelings towards their classic cars. In fact on TV there are more ‘car’ shows than ‘dog’ shows. The dogs of the near future will – like us – also be robots.

    • Replies: @Anon
    Where I may be wrong is there may be no need for genetic dna. Synthetic dna may do the trick.
    Computer reads your dna code and then creates a synthetic version of it and mises it with the synthetic dna of others. Maybe more than with that of one other person.

    Be a robot? I dunno. Don't want to be a boomer. Boomers must be destroyed.

    https://youtu.be/LKWXHmr-y4g?t=20m15s
    , @Daniel Chieh
    That's assuming an endless increase in energy production to match the energy consumption that you're suggesting. This does not seem likely.
  70. Anonymous [AKA "Anaximander"] says:

    Dog breeders breed by culling: they only breed the dogs that display the characteristics they consider desirable. This restricts the gene pool unnecessarily. Better to breed the other dogs also, and try to breed them so that undesirable characteristics are not passed on.

  71. HA says:

    It’s worth noting that German Shepherd fans who like the sloping back — and there were many, not just the idiots of the kind Christopher Guest lampooned in Best in Show — used to be (and maybe still are) extremely touchy about the inevitable “what’s wrong with his back?” comments that come from “uninformed” observers. The same goes for the “so ugly they’re cute” breeds with the snub noses and requisite breathing issues.

    It’s the same groupthink that, as Steve pointed out, takes over car salesmen (and the occasional US president) and makes them get orange tans and gaudy jewelry and numbs their minds to the notion that the rest of the world fails to regard all that as sexy and alluring.

    Understandably, it’s not pleasant to realize that much of the outside world is able to recognize the obvious fact that these breeds are genetic monstrosities dangerously reminiscent of the “kill me” scene in Aliens, but I’m getting the sense that the common sense faction is slowly gaining the upper hand, though it may be too late to save the German Shepherd or some of these other breeds. Then again, the French bulldog is overtaking the Lab as the most popular dog in the UK, so maybe I’m kidding myself.

  72. I would like to propose that the degradation of purebred qualities (nb: I’m a longtime owner of GSDs) is not a result of breeder incompetence, but of the democratization and commoditization of the breeding enterprise. Potential pet owners (and conformation judges) have an idea in their heads about the distinctive (not average) traits (largely visible, not behavioral) of any given breed and seek to reward/buy dogs exemplifying those distinctive traits. Breeders respond to this by producing dogs that meet those expectations, thus leading to exaggeration and fixation of those distinctive features in many breeding lines (along with linked maladaptive traits such as ataxia/degenerative myelopathy). This is essentially a democratic/market driven process in contrast to the pre-20th century dog breeding efforts, which were largely aristocratic efforts. For instance, Max von Stephanitz, the founder/systematizer of the German Shepherd breed was a German nobleman and cavalry officer. He had the leisure, breeding, training, and mindset to produce dogs with the admirable qualities the supposed loss of which modern purists rue (in an odd sort of genetic virtue signaling). He was very successful in his efforts. So, breed ruination, I would argue, is more a consequence of loss of a healthy hereditary aristocracy – largely impervious to market forces in undertaking its pastimes – than anything else. In this case, as in so many other areas of culture, the free marketplace selects for palatable mediocrity, not excellence.

  73. Even mutts were under heavy selection pressure in the past. I was going through some old dog license records in Ireland from about 1870 to 1890. About 85-90% of the dogs were males. I think it is pretty clear they killed a lot of the female dogs for population control back then.

    Put this together with the fact that a lot of people lived on farms where culling was an everyday fact of life and it’s easy to suppose that the psychology of people must have changed radically. Most people would have trouble killing a chicken nowadays, but a puppy?

    • Replies: @fnn

    I was going through some old dog license records in Ireland from about 1870 to 1890.
     
    Doing some really arcane historical research?
  74. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Pat Boyle
    I think you have it wrong. Why bother with all that messy biology at all? Personally I want to be a robot and I imagine that given the choice most people would want to also. Biological evolution got us this far but from now on biology looks like the wrong approach to creating people.

    I could be wrong of course. Maybe people will continue to be created by biological sex - the old fashion way - indefinitely into the future. But that seems very unlikely.

    We still make bones out of calcium and phosphorus (I think) but wouldn't we all be happier if our bones were made of better materials like carbon fiber? I picked up a urinary tract infection at my doctor's office recently. I would not have had all that discomfort if I had a bladder made out of something that resisted bacteria better. A biological urinary bladder is a anachronism. It makes no sense whatsoever.

    So I don't think it pays much dividends to think much about genetics or breeding anymore. These changes are happening faster than most people imagine. We are only a few years away from driverless cars. When that happens millions of Americans will no longer be needed in the economy. The Nazis in the Second World War transported most of their war materials by horse. We now have mechanical dogs that can carry a soldier's back pack. Soon biological dogs will be like horse are today - rare except in boutique settings.

    We revolt at the idea of a mechanical dog - they are so cold and unfriendly. But all we need to do is to adapt our brains to 'feel' towards our mechanical dogs the way we now feel towards our Cocker Spaniel. Ask Jay Leno. Lots of men have the warmest feelings towards their classic cars. In fact on TV there are more 'car' shows than 'dog' shows. The dogs of the near future will - like us - also be robots.

    Where I may be wrong is there may be no need for genetic dna. Synthetic dna may do the trick.
    Computer reads your dna code and then creates a synthetic version of it and mises it with the synthetic dna of others. Maybe more than with that of one other person.

    Be a robot? I dunno. Don’t want to be a boomer. Boomers must be destroyed.

  75. @Pat Boyle
    I think you have it wrong. Why bother with all that messy biology at all? Personally I want to be a robot and I imagine that given the choice most people would want to also. Biological evolution got us this far but from now on biology looks like the wrong approach to creating people.

    I could be wrong of course. Maybe people will continue to be created by biological sex - the old fashion way - indefinitely into the future. But that seems very unlikely.

    We still make bones out of calcium and phosphorus (I think) but wouldn't we all be happier if our bones were made of better materials like carbon fiber? I picked up a urinary tract infection at my doctor's office recently. I would not have had all that discomfort if I had a bladder made out of something that resisted bacteria better. A biological urinary bladder is a anachronism. It makes no sense whatsoever.

    So I don't think it pays much dividends to think much about genetics or breeding anymore. These changes are happening faster than most people imagine. We are only a few years away from driverless cars. When that happens millions of Americans will no longer be needed in the economy. The Nazis in the Second World War transported most of their war materials by horse. We now have mechanical dogs that can carry a soldier's back pack. Soon biological dogs will be like horse are today - rare except in boutique settings.

    We revolt at the idea of a mechanical dog - they are so cold and unfriendly. But all we need to do is to adapt our brains to 'feel' towards our mechanical dogs the way we now feel towards our Cocker Spaniel. Ask Jay Leno. Lots of men have the warmest feelings towards their classic cars. In fact on TV there are more 'car' shows than 'dog' shows. The dogs of the near future will - like us - also be robots.

    That’s assuming an endless increase in energy production to match the energy consumption that you’re suggesting. This does not seem likely.

  76. @Anon
    The problem with dog-breeding is INbreeding.

    Dogs got muslimized.

    I have a hypothesis about this. From watching the Westminster dog show, the American Kennel Club seems to be dominated by women and gay men. Gays and their female friends are going to be more concerned with the aesthetics of the show ring than functionality.

    What women and homosexuals enter, men leave. Men who love the German Shepherd dog breed have long since moved on to schutzhund competition. I imagine hunters have their own networks for pointers and retrievers, and there are many and well-organized herding competitions.

    See also, the Episcopal priesthood and Broadway.

  77. @2Mintzin1
    Thank you for reminding me of that terrible song.
    If I was Hal the Computer, that is one memory I would not mind being deleted.

    (Daisy, Daisy...)

    Aw come on. That’s a pretty good tune! I remember hearing it in the piped-in music at a gas station one day. LOL.

    Zager went on to guitar manufacturing. I had some very friendly correspondence with his son. He says they’re doing fine and his dad is still proud of that song.

  78. I find this post to be one of Steve’s most hilarious and filled to the brim with layers of irony.

  79. @Almost Missouri
    Maybe some constitutional law scholar can explain this to me...

    An ancient principle of government is that no parliament/legislature/executive/king/whatever can bind the hands of a future parliament/etc. In other words, man cannot make a law that man cannot unmake.

    So why isn't Trump's "no" as good as Obama's "yes" in regard to these fake refugees?

    Obama didn't create a treaty: that would have required 2/3 of the Senate. He didn't create a law: that's the legislature's job. He didn't even issue an Executive Order: Trump could just issue his own to rescind it as he has already done with other Obama EOs.

    But Obama "gave his word" and now it is impossible--IMPOSSIBLE, I TELL YOU, to change anything!?!?! Obama is supposed to be some sort of god now, whose actions are un-undoable by mere mortals?!?!?

    Maybe there's some legal nuance I'm missing here, but this really looks like nothing more than standard leftist Kaa-hypnosis.

    ssssssss...Obama gave hisss word...now we are all helplesss....impossssible to change....obey...OBEY!!!!SSSSS

    https://youtu.be/1WpCy6b_dZ8?t=30s

    An ancient principle of government is that no parliament/legislature/executive/king/whatever can bind the hands of a future parliament/etc. In other words, man cannot make a law that man cannot unmake.

    I’d be interested in an analysis of this idea as well. One question is whether the non-binding aspect is across or only within groups. In the US it seems to be only within (e.g. Supreme Court having final say, but being able to overrule itself).

    Here’s an article from Slate (I know, but it looks reasonable and my search did not term up much, also, I’m not really knowledgeable enough here to check for bias) talking about this: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2010/07/pelosis_paradox.html

  80. @Not Raul
    There are thousands of police departments around the world that would be very interested in that ability. Fleeing suspects climb over walls sometimes.

    Police dogs are almost exclusively Czech, where the breeds are still working dogs. Lots of Belgian malmeutes (spelling?). All the cops talk to their dogs in Czech, too, which is kind of funny.

    • Replies: @TWS
    You sure you don't mean Malinois?
  81. Anonymous [AKA "Shawnoo"] says:
    @Broski
    Do you really want your dog to be able to jump 8.5 ft walls?

    German Shepherds were bred to be able to wrestle down people, not jump high.

  82. I’m on my fourth GSD.

    Each had/has coloring and body type different from the others: a small, white female 45 lbs straight back; a black and tan female 75 lbs straight back; a black and red female 75 lbs straight back, and a black and brown male bi-color 75 lbs straight back who could probably clear six to eight feet easily if trained to do so (he’s very agile, thin and spry).

    Most GSDs bred are working line dogs. Not the slope (American) or roach back (German variety) seen in shows.

    Inbreeding and careless backyard breeding did create a lot of health problems in GSDs, but good breeding now is ameliorating it with better genetic screening.

    All dog breeding, though, leads to disposition for various maladies. My female black and tan developed degenerative myopathy at ten yrs old. The breed is prone to the disorder, but it can be eliminated by DNA testing of the breeding pair.

    All my GSDs are rescue dogs because I can’t afford to pay for well bred and certified animals, so I never knew what I’d get in terms of inbred medical conditions.

    The GSD breed is recovering from many decades of bad breeding, but I wish they’d also quit breeding these 100 – 120 lb animals. They really don’t need to be bigger than 75 lbs to be all anyone needs in a great and incredibly versatile dog.

    I wanted to put pictures in this to show how two of my dogs looked much more like the original GSD than the heavy, thick, slope backed one Steve showed, but I couldn’t find an obvious way to insert my jpegs.

    • Replies: @HA
    "Most GSDs bred are working line dogs."

    I wish that were true, but a quick Google search reveals numerous listings that trumpet "AKC purebred" (as if that were a good thing), so I have reason to doubt you. Even the adds featuring "working line" puppies have parents that look like this. Likewise, if ever you come across forums dealing with GSD's, you'll see that the defenders of the slope-back standard seem pretty adamant about the supposed virtues of this feature-not-a-bug, despite heated and ongoing opposition from those who insist that something has clearly gone wrong.

    The GSD breed is recovering from many decades of bad breeding, but I wish they’d also quit breeding these 100 – 120 lb animals."

    The "specialty" (so-called) GSD's bred for larger size -- Shiloh, King Shepherds -- seem to be getting more popular. (For what it's worth, one of the reasons for that is that they are advertised as having more of an "old-time" German Shepherd shape, without the weird backs, though the added size means a greater propensity for hip disorders and shortened lifespans.) As you noted, the larger size doesn't seem to impress people who train the animals for utility work. Thankfully, I think white German Shepherds (chronically disposed to deafness) seem to be on the wane, so there's at least that.

  83. Oh heck, I forgot to promote the great conservative and fun novel:

    A Man with Three Great German Shepherds (and 1000 troy ounces of gold)

    If you like dogs, and I do, then you’ll enjoy this story. It has all the charming detail about why we like those four-legged creatures, as well as all the twists and turns of a real human life well-lived. It’s clever, witty, well-written and draws you in. The undulations of the plot are remarkable and captivating. I found myself turning the pages wondering what new adventure was in store for Dan and his hounds. Would make a good gift. Rupert Hart

    Mark Butterworth’s first novel is a worthwhile read. He successfully explores the bonds of affection the narrator feels for his three German shepherds and connects those emotions with the narrator’s personal and family life. In other words, this book is NOT just about the dogs: here the reader will share some of the main character’s thoughts on relationships, society, and the role of government in the individual’s life. The dogs are a device that enables the author to opine on these key themes. Phil Lawrence

  84. @songbird
    Even mutts were under heavy selection pressure in the past. I was going through some old dog license records in Ireland from about 1870 to 1890. About 85-90% of the dogs were males. I think it is pretty clear they killed a lot of the female dogs for population control back then.

    Put this together with the fact that a lot of people lived on farms where culling was an everyday fact of life and it's easy to suppose that the psychology of people must have changed radically. Most people would have trouble killing a chicken nowadays, but a puppy?

    I was going through some old dog license records in Ireland from about 1870 to 1890.

    Doing some really arcane historical research?

    • Replies: @songbird
    A bit of genealogy. Surviving Irish records are somewhat slim pickings, so those with an interest are sometimes moved to look at odd things.

    There was evidently some annual deadline to register one's dog, so that led to the funny result of a lot of people showing up nearly on the same day, includng some of my ancestors on both sides whose names are written closely together, probably meaning that they crossed paths, even though my parents were born thousands of miles apart.

    Sort of a dry annecdote, but amusing if you are the result.
    , @Jim Don Bob

    Doing some really arcane historical research?
     
    Doing some really arcanine historical research?

    I fixed this for you. You are welcome.
  85. @fnn
    German Shepherds in the past. Film of 1936 Schutzhund competition:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsBi0PehfAM

    Thanks that is great. The DDR gsd still look and act like those natural dogs. I think they have gotten a bit more ‘sharp’ over the years but my uncle’s Vietnam era military German shepherd was plenty sharp.

  86. The dogs in the video on the post are the European variety show dog the Germans created and it’s called a roach back. It’s an arch in the back that slumps. Sort of a hump then downward.

    The GSD, Rumor, who won the big dog show last year has a slope back. More straight from the shoulder to the hip slant.

    The difference may seem minor, but those roach back dogs deformity is very severe to my eye. They can hardly run. The American slope back dog, Rumor, glides over the floor.

    I don’t like either form of the dog, but there is a difference in the degree of deformity, I think.

  87. @fnn

    I was going through some old dog license records in Ireland from about 1870 to 1890.
     
    Doing some really arcane historical research?

    A bit of genealogy. Surviving Irish records are somewhat slim pickings, so those with an interest are sometimes moved to look at odd things.

    There was evidently some annual deadline to register one’s dog, so that led to the funny result of a lot of people showing up nearly on the same day, includng some of my ancestors on both sides whose names are written closely together, probably meaning that they crossed paths, even though my parents were born thousands of miles apart.

    Sort of a dry annecdote, but amusing if you are the result.

  88. @fnn

    I was going through some old dog license records in Ireland from about 1870 to 1890.
     
    Doing some really arcane historical research?

    Doing some really arcane historical research?

    Doing some really arcanine historical research?

    I fixed this for you. You are welcome.

  89. @Just some cop
    Police dogs are almost exclusively Czech, where the breeds are still working dogs. Lots of Belgian malmeutes (spelling?). All the cops talk to their dogs in Czech, too, which is kind of funny.

    You sure you don’t mean Malinois?

  90. HA says:
    @johnmark7
    I'm on my fourth GSD.

    Each had/has coloring and body type different from the others: a small, white female 45 lbs straight back; a black and tan female 75 lbs straight back; a black and red female 75 lbs straight back, and a black and brown male bi-color 75 lbs straight back who could probably clear six to eight feet easily if trained to do so (he's very agile, thin and spry).

    Most GSDs bred are working line dogs. Not the slope (American) or roach back (German variety) seen in shows.

    Inbreeding and careless backyard breeding did create a lot of health problems in GSDs, but good breeding now is ameliorating it with better genetic screening.

    All dog breeding, though, leads to disposition for various maladies. My female black and tan developed degenerative myopathy at ten yrs old. The breed is prone to the disorder, but it can be eliminated by DNA testing of the breeding pair.

    All my GSDs are rescue dogs because I can't afford to pay for well bred and certified animals, so I never knew what I'd get in terms of inbred medical conditions.

    The GSD breed is recovering from many decades of bad breeding, but I wish they'd also quit breeding these 100 - 120 lb animals. They really don't need to be bigger than 75 lbs to be all anyone needs in a great and incredibly versatile dog.

    I wanted to put pictures in this to show how two of my dogs looked much more like the original GSD than the heavy, thick, slope backed one Steve showed, but I couldn't find an obvious way to insert my jpegs.

    “Most GSDs bred are working line dogs.”

    I wish that were true, but a quick Google search reveals numerous listings that trumpet “AKC purebred” (as if that were a good thing), so I have reason to doubt you. Even the adds featuring “working line” puppies have parents that look like this. Likewise, if ever you come across forums dealing with GSD’s, you’ll see that the defenders of the slope-back standard seem pretty adamant about the supposed virtues of this feature-not-a-bug, despite heated and ongoing opposition from those who insist that something has clearly gone wrong.

    The GSD breed is recovering from many decades of bad breeding, but I wish they’d also quit breeding these 100 – 120 lb animals.”

    The “specialty” (so-called) GSD’s bred for larger size — Shiloh, King Shepherds — seem to be getting more popular. (For what it’s worth, one of the reasons for that is that they are advertised as having more of an “old-time” German Shepherd shape, without the weird backs, though the added size means a greater propensity for hip disorders and shortened lifespans.) As you noted, the larger size doesn’t seem to impress people who train the animals for utility work. Thankfully, I think white German Shepherds (chronically disposed to deafness) seem to be on the wane, so there’s at least that.

    • Replies: @johnmark7
    You could be right about the numbers of AKC type GSDs being bred.

    Of all the sites for GSD rescue (and there are a lot), the only dogs I've ever seen are working line. Of all the GSDs I see on the street (being walked), at the park, and around town, all I've ever seen are the working line. And I'm seeing a lot of them lately. They seem to have come back in popularity in my area.

    I have yet to see an AKC slope backed dog apart from dog shows, but that's a limited data set.

    The same is true for our dog's Vets. They never mention seeing the show dogs among all the GSDs they see.

    That's why I think breeding is getting better (slowly) and that there are more of the working line, but that's anecdotal on my part.

    I've also seen a lot more white GSDs in the last year than I saw from 1993 until now. In all those years, there was my white one (for 13 years) and occasionally another one I'd see every 3 -4 years. And they seem to turn up more frequently in the rescue groups, now, also.

    A good GSD is expensive, but they are the second most abandoned dog after pit bulls so they are easily available. They are high drive, high maintenance dogs in their first three years and can be very destructive, obsessive/compulsive, and willful (they are bred for greater focus to stay on task, hence, bad habits can become knotty problems if they aren't raised well, and supervised at all times when young.) They can't be left outside or at home alone for long periods when young.

    Since most people don't train them or raise them well, despite their expense, people abandon them readily as more trouble then they're worth.
  91. A lot of people try to draw a distinction between Bad Governmental Eugenics and Good Free Market Eugenics, but the results of the last 100 years of Free Market Dog Eugenics haven’t been encouraging.

    The noblest way to learn is by thinking things over.
    (Confucius)

    Wu-wei***
    Laozi, Tao Te Ching

    *** doing things by not doing things

  92. @HA
    "Most GSDs bred are working line dogs."

    I wish that were true, but a quick Google search reveals numerous listings that trumpet "AKC purebred" (as if that were a good thing), so I have reason to doubt you. Even the adds featuring "working line" puppies have parents that look like this. Likewise, if ever you come across forums dealing with GSD's, you'll see that the defenders of the slope-back standard seem pretty adamant about the supposed virtues of this feature-not-a-bug, despite heated and ongoing opposition from those who insist that something has clearly gone wrong.

    The GSD breed is recovering from many decades of bad breeding, but I wish they’d also quit breeding these 100 – 120 lb animals."

    The "specialty" (so-called) GSD's bred for larger size -- Shiloh, King Shepherds -- seem to be getting more popular. (For what it's worth, one of the reasons for that is that they are advertised as having more of an "old-time" German Shepherd shape, without the weird backs, though the added size means a greater propensity for hip disorders and shortened lifespans.) As you noted, the larger size doesn't seem to impress people who train the animals for utility work. Thankfully, I think white German Shepherds (chronically disposed to deafness) seem to be on the wane, so there's at least that.

    You could be right about the numbers of AKC type GSDs being bred.

    Of all the sites for GSD rescue (and there are a lot), the only dogs I’ve ever seen are working line. Of all the GSDs I see on the street (being walked), at the park, and around town, all I’ve ever seen are the working line. And I’m seeing a lot of them lately. They seem to have come back in popularity in my area.

    I have yet to see an AKC slope backed dog apart from dog shows, but that’s a limited data set.

    The same is true for our dog’s Vets. They never mention seeing the show dogs among all the GSDs they see.

    That’s why I think breeding is getting better (slowly) and that there are more of the working line, but that’s anecdotal on my part.

    I’ve also seen a lot more white GSDs in the last year than I saw from 1993 until now. In all those years, there was my white one (for 13 years) and occasionally another one I’d see every 3 -4 years. And they seem to turn up more frequently in the rescue groups, now, also.

    A good GSD is expensive, but they are the second most abandoned dog after pit bulls so they are easily available. They are high drive, high maintenance dogs in their first three years and can be very destructive, obsessive/compulsive, and willful (they are bred for greater focus to stay on task, hence, bad habits can become knotty problems if they aren’t raised well, and supervised at all times when young.) They can’t be left outside or at home alone for long periods when young.

    Since most people don’t train them or raise them well, despite their expense, people abandon them readily as more trouble then they’re worth.

  93. @Anon
    The problem with dog-breeding is INbreeding.

    Dogs got muslimized.

    My great-grandparents bred dogs. One of them they bred larger while trying to breed out bad genetic traits. As it turned out their dogs were twice the breed standard size when they mostly got those problems out.

    Nothing else, other than an example of how what we think were doing may not be the what we should do.

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