HBO Asks if Dog Breeding is a “Real Sport”


Be sure to catch HBO’S Real Sports with Bryant Gumble tonight as they are doing a segment on the health and ethics of pedigree dog breeding for which Border-Wars was interviewed extensively over the last several months for background information, references to scientific papers, and fact-checking.

Unnatural Selection
Producer: Jason Samuels

The Westminster Dog Show is one of the country’s oldest sporting events, and certainly the most adorable, but more than 20,000 dog shows are held nationwide each year. While the sport’s growth is a boon for fervent dog lovers, it may not be as rewarding to some of the dogs themselves. During competition, animals are judged on how closely they represent the “breed standard,” and some critics say this leads to the questionable breeding of dogs for beauty over health. Soledad O’Brien leads this REAL SPORTS examination of the world of competitive dog shows and the sport’s repercussions on dog health, in and outside the show ring.

While I won’t be on camera and haven’t seen the final cut, the producers asked the right questions and seem to be focusing on the most obvious abuses of conformation like the Bulldog and the rampant brachycephalism caused by their conformation and the fad to breed them with ever shorter snouts and more profuse skin.

You can even join in the fun with the AKC apologists on RealSport’s Facebook Page.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.