In order to create some of the most appealing dog and cat breeds, humans have bred animals to have traits that are not in the best interest of the animal. To put it bluntly, we are breeding defects into the pet. Tea cup and brachycephalic breeds are
“ Teacup dog breeds often have malformed skulls with permanent soft-spots, and the structural deficits don’t stop there. Many teacup dogs have poor bone density, making their bones brittle throughout life. Dogs who stay small may be eternally cute and precious, but at what cost to their quality of life?
"Regardless of breed, teacup dogs suffer more frequently from major organ malfunctions. Enlarged hearts and heart murmurs occur more often in undersized dogs than in their normal sized brethren. Liver shunts, conditions in which blood fails to reach or be cleaned in the liver, are more common in teacup dogs. Teacup dog breeds are at higher risk for developing, or being born with, serious problems in their digestive and respiratory systems. Because he is so small, a teacup puppy is also subjected to constant stress, which not only causes its own digestive issues, like diarrhea and constipation, but also puts added pressure on lungs and hearts, which may already be underdeveloped.”
Breeds that have been bred in teacup sizes include the Yorkie, Pomeranian, Maltese, Chihuahua, Pug, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, and Papiillon. Now designer dogs have been added to the mix as breeds such as the Malti-poo (Maltese/Poodle cross) have been bred and sold for high profits.
Inbreeding is often required to produce a teacup breed. Other breeders will often breed the runts of the litters, hoping to produce similar offspring. Some dogs sold as teacups breeds can be the runt, premature puppy, or malnourished puppy pulled from the mother too soon. These unhealthy puppies can bring huge financial gain if marked as teacups, even if they are not. Teacup dog breeds often die while giving birth, especially if bred to a larger dog. Many must have cesarean sections to deliver.
Brachycephalic (short nose) breeds are those who, through selective breeding, have developed a flat and wide skull shape. Pugs, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers, are some dog breeds with this conformation. Cat breeds include British Shorthair, Himalayan, Persian, and Scottish fold.
“This [Brachycephalic] skull shape gives these dogs the characteristic flattened face and short nose. Although this conformation makes them appear extremely cute; a feature which matches the big personalities of many of these breeds, it also causes some serious health issues. These include skin, eye and breathing problems and a poor ability to tolerate heat. Health issues related to a dog being brachycephalic are becoming a more significant problem. Genetic pressure has been applied over many years to achieve more extreme versions of this appearance but this has been to the detriment of their general health. This means that we are seeing these breeds earlier in life with more severe manifestations of these health problems. If we compare the skull shape and appearance of the English Bulldog of today with a skull from the same breed from fifty years ago the change is quite dramatic. Fifty years ago the skull was much longer and there was an obvious nose. However, today in most of the breed the nasal bones are extremely short or almost absent altogether.”
Many breeds have been so unnaturally altered, that they cannot breed without assistance. Males are given assisted masturbation by the breeder or veterinarian and the semen collected. The semen is then transferred to the female by artificial insemination. Once the female reaches full term, she must go through a c-section as she cannot give birth naturally. She is then expected to feed the puppies.
This unnatural breeding method is a disgusting practice that only emphasizes the fact that we have gone too far in selective breeding. A clear indication that a breed should not be bred is when natural breeding or birth cannot occur.
When it seems that we have gone far enough, unethical breeders find yet another way to make breeds with even more health concerns. Breeders do this by forcing a brachycephalic breed into a teacup size, thus doubling the chance of genetically abnormalities.
Not only are we breeding animals to be genetically abnormal, with hereditary diseases caused by that breeding, we are guaranteeing ourselves higher vet bills and a lower quality of life for our pet.
We must stop intentionally breeding defects into pets because we think its adorable. It is selfish thinking and not in the best interest of the animal. That should be our focus, not a cuteness overload.