I get many interesting questions in regards to my favorite people... the K9 citizens. Some questions are important, some interesting and some kind of out there. Sometimes I get questions seemingly unrelated at first but as I am writing about it I realize that they are connected in some kind of way.
I will address three questions I get asked frequently. Two of them obviously related and the third seemingly removed from the subject. If you indulge me and aren't bored reading this admittedly long winded rant about dogs and wolves it will all make sense in the end.
Here are the three questions:
I know what you are thinking right now... The two first questions make sense but the third one does not. Why would anyone be interested in knowing whether or not there is a dog out there that could go toe to toe with the wolf? While this question seems pointless at first glance as soon as I thought about it more in depth I realized that it was a valid one indeed. Here we go...
Is all breeding good or bad? Very few issues divide dog lovers as much as the question of whether or not breeding is something that should be done. On one hand you have the so called pure breed enthusiasts who would not even consider anything other than a pedigree dog. On the other hand you have people screaming to stop breeding altogether. While the snobby pure bred enthusiast has really no redeeming quality at least the folks who want to stop breeding altogether have their heart in the right place. Most people who want breeding to stop think that somehow this would do away with the over crowded animal shelters all over the world. Unfortunately the cure would not, could not and never will be that simple. While some think that pedigree breeding is creating perfection, others think that ALL breeding is pointless and causes nothing but problems. Both positions are equally wrong.
There was a time when breeding dogs was not about looks but about talent. Man needed dogs that could perform a certain task better than any other animal on earth. The original philosophy of dog breeding was "form follows function". That in fact was and still is 100 percent correct. When man needed a dog with more power he would select and breed only the most powerful males to the most powerful females. By doing this the dogs started to look more and more muscular as time went on. Because more power demands for more muscle... "Form follows function". When man needed a dog that had more speed he would select and breed only the fastest males to the fastest females. By doing this the dogs started to look slimmer and more stream lined. Because muscle to weight ratio combined with less wind resistance will produce faster dogs. Again... "Form follows function".
When doggie beauty pageants became all the rage the opposite philosophy reared it's ugly head the first time... "Beauty and type above all else". This is, of course, completely ridiculous. People literally sat down and said: "What do we want this breed to look like?" Nobody cared about whether or not these imaginary desired visual traits would improve a dogs ability, quality of life or health. It was just a question as to what these people thought "beautiful" means to them. So then they decided to create these insane and pointless standards which make no sense to anyone who truly understands dogs. The result was that sheep herding dogs who had been bred previously to be superior herders now could not herd anymore... Guard dogs could not guard anymore and so on... If all you breed for is "looks" ability goes right out the window fast.
I have to be honest with that and say that I hate the AKC and the Kennel Club as much as I hate Michael Vick. The bulldog is a breed that used to have the ability to hold its own against a 2000 pound bull. I do not condone the atrocity of bull baiting. I am just trying to point out that a 60 pound dog doing battle with a 2,000 pound behemoth is a pretty severe test. A challenge that can only be met by a dog that is 100 percent healthy, extremely powerful, athletic and brave beyond compare. The bulldog of old was all of these things and more.
The AKC and the Kennel Club have taken this magnificent breed and reduced it to a fragile creature which is not able to breed without help, give birth naturally, run for more than a minute or even breathe without immense effort. This just breaks my heart. We took a superior and ultimately healthy warrior and turned it into a science experiment to see how many health issues can a dog have and still walk around this earth for a while.
So, "beauty and type above all else" is a flawed concept that doesn't work. This insane concept is the very reason why all of the AKC, UKC and Kennel Club registered dog breeds suffer from mild to severe health issues. When breeding was about "form follows function" NONE of these breeds had the health issues of the modern day beauty pageant champions and their offspring. Because if you breed for "ability" instead of "beauty" you are breeding for health. Because only a healthy dog can be a good worker. Only a healthy dog can be the most powerful. Only a healthy dog can be the fastest and so on. Just like you don't see sick humans win the Olympics you will not see a sick dog excel at any certain task. The old way of breeding produced healthy, functional and therefore happier dogs. The modern beauty pageant way of breeding has produced a tragic spectacle of crippled animals being used to gain coin.
We need to get back to the original way of breeding so future generations of dogs are saved from suffering and dogs will once again be champions in the world of animals at the specific talent of their particular breed. Some will say "why don't we just stop breeding altogether?" I think that this would be a huge and tragic mistake and here is why: There are those who believe that the wolf is the superior K9 and canis familiaris is nothing but a weak man made imitation. Some people think that breeding is completely pointless and can only produce animals which are vastly inferior to the original K9 (wolf) nature produced. People think that the wolf is more powerful, smarter, faster and quite frankly better than any dog could ever be. While I agree with the fact that the wolf is superior to all domesticated breeds as an all around survivor there is more to that comparison than meets the eye.
I will use certain breeds and their particular talents to illustrate that, without taking anything from the wolf at all, the dog is often much more than the equal to the wolf. Many times I have been asked who would win in a one on one confrontation between a wolf and a dog. The first question I would ask that person would be in regards to what breed we are talking about? If the breed in question is your average sporting or even working kind of breed then chances are the wolf could best them in most cases. The wolf is larger and more powerful than the average domesticated breed of dog. But, if the dog in question is a member of one of the warrior breeds then everything changes.
I want to express that NONE of what I am about to say are speculations. I have been active in the fight against organized dog fighting my entire life. I even physically participated in busting these so called "tournaments" which are nothing more than sick games for psychopaths. Anyone who takes pleasure in animals of any kind suffering is one step away from being a human murderer.
What I have seen and learned in my many years of battling dog fighting is that for the most part only so called fighting breeds are used. I said for the most part because there are also many "novelty" matches where a fighting breed such as a pitbull, Tosa Inu or Perro De Presa is matched against all kinds of other animals. Most often the wolf is used for these horrible spectacles. The motivation of course is the age-old question about who would win in a one on one fight.
I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty and without any speculation on my part that the wolf NEVER wins under these circumstances. Novices are surprised when they hear what true dog men have known all along. Now please don't get me wrong. Being an animal lover and activist I am not here to diminish the wolf nor the dog. I am just here to share my real life discoveries in order to make sense of why not all breeding is bad. I want to show that if we breed with the correct philosophy we can produce incredibly healthy and quite frankly superior dogs which will best any other creature on earth at their particular talent.
Indulge me if you will... think of a car that can drive on streets, rugged off road paths and is built to negotiate any kind of terrain it could encounter. This car, while incredibly versatile, could never win a formula one race. It is built with a different purpose in mind. On the other hand, the top winning formula one car will DOMINATE on the race track while it would get stuck at the first obstacle in the road trying to go where that all terrain vehicle has no issues whatsoever. It is not a question about which car is better. It is a question about which car is better suited for what purpose. One of them is made to deal with everything that might come it's way and the other is simply built for speed. Both are perfect for what they were built to do. Neither one of them is "better'. They are simply different.
When you look at natural K9s then you will see that the wolf has no shortcomings at all. Nature created a perfectly functioning member of the wild. In order to create the perfect all around survivor the animal needs many different skills... The more skills you add into the mix the less pronounced each individual skill becomes. Kind of like that all terrain vehicle the wolf needs to have the ability to deal with whatever comes his way.
The warrior K9 is more like the formula one race car. Ultimately capable at one particular task but does not have the ability to deal with nature's many tests if left to it's own devices.
A survivor K9 has to be an all around good hunter with a keen sense of smell in order to find food. He has to be able to run fast enough to catch prey so he can eat, strong enough to engage the game and has to be SCARED enough to run from ANY confrontation not crucial to survival. Since there are no vets in the wild a wolf could die even from a small wound which will go untreated.
A warrior K9 is a SPECIALIST at combat. Such a dog does not care to be a good hunter because his human will feed him. It matters not that the warrior has the best nose in the world because he does not need to find or hunt prey. If the warrior dog gets injured during a fight vet care is available if his human cares to give it. The focus on creating a warrior dog is to make him superior at ONE task - fighting.
It is like comparing a trained human survival specialist to a UFC fighting champion. Drop off the UFC champion in the jungle with no food or help and he will die a certain death. Because fighting is his only skill he simply does not have the tools to make it in that environment. The survival specialist has all the skills needed to survive... tough enough to fight for his life, knows what animals to run from, what to eat, how to kill for survival and food and find a way to maintain. But if you put that survival specialist up against a UFC champion in a cage match then he is going to be beaten to a pulp. I believe that both talents deserve equal respect.
The average person believes that the wolf is superior to all breeds of dog at every single task but this is simply not true. Canis familiaris has been specialized by man in order to make a particular breed superior to the wolf at a particular and SINGULAR task.
The greyhound is faster than the wolf; the bloodhound has a better nose than the wolf; the mastiff is more powerful than the wolf and so on. The all around best survivor is the wolf but if he has to compete with "specialists" at any given task he is simply out of his league.
When man decided to "improve" on what nature created he did the following: Let's say that we want to produce a dog that is a better fighter than the wolf and we don't care about any other talent then this is an easy task. We start breeding for courage, fighting skill and power above anything else. If we don't have to worry about creating an all around survivor then one single and extremely magnified skill will be our focus. We eventually end up with a dog that will defeat the wolf in one on one combat 100 percent of the time. This warrior dog will not be on par with the wolf when it comes to surviving but it will beat the wolf at this one singular task.
If a well bred Tosa Inu (a magnificent Japanese fighting breed) was dropped off in the wild the dog would have almost zero chance of survival. Because the Tosa Inu was created to be a dog which is unafraid of anything. The Tosa will not back down from any challenge. This natural born hero is most certainly one of the most impressive animals to walk this earth but a dog that doesn't retreat will get injured even if he wins the fight. In the wild even a small injury that goes untreated will cause death. The Tosa is NOT a survivor and cannot compete with the wolf when it comes to making it in the wild without human intervention. But if the wolf gets into it with the Tosa Inu one on one then the natural K9 has virtually no chance of survival because now the wolf is on Tosa territory.
A wolf NEEDS to have a certain amount of fear in order to avoid fights which are not important for survival. A dog which has been bred to be more heroic, determined and powerful than the wolf will not back down from fights which may not be important for survival because the dog does not have the fear (survival instinct) of the wolf to make it run when it should.
So now you might ask, "Why would man want and breed for a dog that is more heroic, powerful and determined than the wolf?" Why is it "important" to have a dog that is a better warrior than the wolf? The answer is a beautiful one... because it reveals how special these natural born heroes are and what they are willing to do for their people.
The reason why man wanted a dog which could battle better than the wolf is because the wolf would not make a great guardian for man. The wolf would only protect to a point. As soon as the wolf realized that he could get seriously hurt while protecting man his survival instinct (fear) would kick in. He would run away leaving his human to fend for himself. This is no guess on my part either. Being a complete K9oholic I have many friends who live with, protect the wild wolf populations and some even breed wolves to replenish the population. These people love and understand the wolf for what it is rather than what novices THINK the wolf is.
The wolf is a gorgeous animal nature programmed to think about its own survival first. It has to be this way because in the wild survival is the only thing that matters. But dog, some breeds much more than others, is actually capable of loving his person more than it's own life. I believe this to be such a beautiful and amazing gift that it brings a tear to my eye when I think about it. A dog which has been bred to be braver and more powerful than the wolf will continue protecting his human above and beyond what a wolf would, should or could do. So for human needs the trade off makes sense. The dog might not be as great a survivor in the wild but is a much more capable and loving guardian and protector for man than the wolf could ever be.
In closing, if the right kind of breeding can produce dogs with talents that put all other animals to shame then I am all for it. If beauty pageant breeding produces sad cripples just so people can marvel at their own "creations" regardless of what level of suffering this causes the dog, then it needs to stop. Let us demand breeders to go back to the old breeding philosophy... FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION.
Below you will find a link for a documentary which goes into some detail about what the AKC, the UKC and the Kennel Club have done to man's best friend. I am sure you will be amazed by the level of ignorance and evil which is fully supported by the public. This documentary shows you how incredibly destructive the current way of breeding has become. I implore every animal lover to take the time to watch this movie and decide for yourself what we all need to do in order to stop this insanity. Please do share your thoughts on this very important subject.
Thank you all for reading and of course watching the following movie...