December 18th, 2013

dark and stormy, reading

Mixed feelings

If there's one type of calendar we have a lot of at the calendar store, it's dog calendars. We have over 100 different breed-specific calendars, from Airedales to Yourkies and many others in between. And that's just what we have in the store; there are many others than can be special-ordered or bought online. This is, of course, perfectly understandable; while they might object to the term, people who are really into certain breeds are dog nerds, and as I've mentioned before, there's good money to be made catering to nerds.

On the other hand, there's a lot of evidence that dog breeding is really bad for dogs. I'm not talking about shady breeders raising their animals in unhealthy environments, though that certainly is a problem; I'm talking about how breeding for certain characteristics has resulted over time in physical changes to certain breeds that can only be considered detrimental. English bulldogs have been bred to be so large and to have such short snouts that many of them find it exceedingly difficult to keep themselves cool or to breathe at all; few are able to mate or give birth without human assistance; and nearly 80% of them suffer from hip dysplasia. Dachshunds have suffered too; having been bred to have extremely long torsos and unusually short rib cages, they're highly prone to spinal disease.

Knowing that gives me mixed feelings when it comes to our selection of dog calendars. Sure, it's good for the bottom line, but given the cost to the dogs, do we really want to be encouraging breed fetishism?