Thursday, January 12, 2006

Breeding the long-lived dog: Step One

I have long hoped breeders would focus on breeding a dog with a long, healthy, lifespan.

Modern veterinary care has added 2-3 years to the canine lifespan, but many mid-sized breeds die at about age 10-12 (the lifespan of some giant dogs is criminally short).

How hard would it be to get to a 20 year dog? One could start with the australian cattle dog. At least one of these dogs is thought to have lived 29 years. True, they are not ideal family dogs, but that's what breeding is for. Mix in some European lab and some other sociable laid back breeds with relatively long lifespans and good health. In 30 years we could be well on our way ...


Esoxenvy said...

I couldn't agree more. For many
years breeders have created "desireable" traits, or so they believe, in dogs by selective breeding\culling. Why is it then that nobody has thought it necessary to develop something really important in our canine friends, like a long lifespan, instead of just things like coat color or type? Another "real" positive that could be developed by selective breeding is
an ultra-high intelligence level.

Anonymous said...

I have inherited a very loved mutt who is approximately 19 years old. He is large, has a coloring pattern similar to a german shepard and hair length similar to a chow but not as thick /dense as a chow. Everyone has been saying for the last 6 years that he is a very old dog and that we need to be prepared for him to pass away, but that just isn't happening.

He's a bit senile, a lot deaf and not very strong in his back legs, but he's happy, enjoying life and not in a lot of pain. I've decided that he must be immortal, and I'm pleased as punch about it.

My point, and I do have one, is to adopt a MUTT. They don't suffer from inbreeding, so they're healthier, live longer and are generally a lot smarter than pure breeds.

-Steve in Minneapolis