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dog's life

Now they are a deadly serious competitive sub-culture: mighty battles of pride and money against a sometimes murky background of back-biting and back-handers. A blue-ribbon dog, the very model of a champion, fulfilling every condition in the rule-book, is the parent that all ambitious breeders want for their puppies, passing on his aesthetically perfect genes.

There are sometimes regulations limiting the number of litters a bitch may produce. But there have been none, at least until the Netherlands introduces some incendiary new rules next year, about the number of times a champion sire can mate, or his semen be used. So the proud beauties give of their best, again and again, even father to daughter or brother to sister, to produce the perfect breed-standard specimen. Over-use is the rule rather than the exception. It is almost, in Mr Budiansky's inimitable words, cloning the old-fashioned way.

But, alas, the almost-cloned puppy carries its parents' imperfections as well as their aesthetic perfection: unwanted genes are channelled down, in ever greater concentration, alongside the desired ones. There is nothing inherently evil about inbreeding dogs, or line-breeding as it is cosmetically called. Similar methods are used all over the place, for instance in the breeding of dairy cattle. But, unchecked, it can, and is, producing lamentable results. These are basically of two kinds, though inter-linked.

First, the inherited diseases and disorders. Undesirable traits, from weak hearts to weak eyes to weak hips, are passed down the line along with the bushy tails and bright eyes. Responsible breeders will not mate an afflicted animal; but many dogs are silent carriers, showing no sign of the disorder themselves but passing recessive mutant genes on to their offspring. In the closed-book breeding conditions that prevail, which allow for no cross-breeding or diversity to creep into the blood, certain defects have become breed characteristics: blindness in setters, for instance, or heart disease in boxers and Boston terriers, or deafness in Dalmatians, or hip dysplasia, that disabling misfit of ball and socket in the hip joint that troubles a large number of different pure-breds.

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Cross-bred dogs are not immune. But, refuting the old racist ideas about degenerate mongrels weakening the race, actuarial statistics worked out by pet-insurance companies, and quoted by Bruce Fogle in his encyclopedia of dogs, show that cross-bred dogs have a median life expectancy of Second, there is the exaggeration of certain desired physical features to the point where they harm the dog: a creeping extremism, done in the name of fashion, that causes disorders.

Man, or woman, decides that it would be nice to make dogs bigger or smaller, or with squashier faces and noses, or with hairier coats, or with ever more wrinkled skin. When carried to an extreme, it has led to many breeds of dogs being unable to breathe or reproduce or move in a normal way. Humans have done extraordinary things to their animals. Much of the dog-designing is well intentioned. Sometimes it has positive results: the exquisite sense of smell of some dogs, for instance, has been fine-tuned to help to sniff out drugs or, more excitingly, to detect the early signs of prostate cancer before a scan can do so.

Much of it is harmless: West Highland terriers, for instance, were bred to have white coats after a careless owner shot his brown pet by mistake for a fox. But the results of genetic redesign are not always so benign. Bulldogs, it was decreed, should have big heads. Now they are so big that they cannot pass through the birth canal and most bulldogs have to be born by caesarean. Dachshund bodies were lengthened, giving them hernias.

German shepherds, once straight-backed, looked more alert with sloping backs; but this has done their hips in. Spaniels, it was decreed, should have longer, heavier ears; but this has affected the ear's anatomy. And a veterinary surgeon's nightmare sometimes comes true: the eyeballs of a Pekingese can actually pop out. Working dogs are often turned into something else.

The Yorkshire terrier, once a tough little ratter, has been miniaturised, resulting in slipped kneecaps and collapsed wind pipes. Mr Budiansky tells of American owners of Border collies who unsuccessfully fought to keep their working dogs off the list of recognised breeds for fear that they would be transformed into furry, useless creatures. And fashions have a tendency to change.

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In the late 19th century, it was thought that it would be nice if the King Charles spaniel had a flatter nose. So the King Charles had its nose lengthened again to make a new breed, the cavalier King Charles, which has become immensely popular and intensely inbred—and whose heart troubles now shorten the life of affected dogs by four or five years. Kennel clubs and breed clubs, cast as snobbish or money-grabbing villains by some animal-rights groups, are acutely alive to the increasing prevalence of inherited diseases among their pure-bed dogs. They differ, however, over how to tackle the problem.

The Dutch Kennel Club, deciding that the times are serious enough to justify desperate measures, is passing stiff new regulations; others hope to achieve much the same result with information, incentives and peer pressure. All are helped by the scientific explosion in DNA -testing for hereditary diseases.

The testing is crucial to avoid passing on recessive mutant genes that do not show up in any obvious way in the parent, but can kill or maim or blind its puppy.

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Identifying a dog or a bitch as a carrier would not ban it from being mated: a single recessive mutant gene does no harm, and to ban the animal would shrink an often tiny gene pool to an even tinier one. The trick is to prevent it being mated with another carrier. And why pick a bull terrier since this breed doesn't have the expressive eyes into which audiences can project all sorts of emotions? The bull terrier's blank look often seems at odds with the narration being spoken for him by actor Vic Morrow.

Perhaps most curiously, while this might have been designed as a movie with a special appeal to children, there are no children in it!

it's a dog's life - French translation - English-French dictionary

In fact, two of the main characters are decidedly in the "senior citizen" class: Edmund Gwenn and Dean Jagger. And yet Its early s setting is pleasantly, though superficially, mounted. The cast is attractive, there are no slow spots in the story, and the whole thing's wrapped up in less than 90 minutes. Those who've seen the movie always seem to remember it, even though some of these memories may now be approaching 50 years in age. Jeff Richards seems a bit miscast, he doesn't have a tough-enough edge , but this is still one of his better parts at a time when he appeared to be moving toward stardom.

For some reason or other, he never "clicked" and soon faded from view. Here he has a scene without his shirt, showing off the kind of chest hair which other actors shaved, and he looks lip-smackin' good! For even more footage of Jeff's chest, though in black-and-white, check out "Island of Lost Women. Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video. Start your free trial. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet!

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