littlegrumpling asked:

I hope this is okay to ask here, but is there any way to responsibly get a pug? I know there are pug-specific rescues, but are pugs just...unethical in general because of their inbreeding and health problems? They are just so cute, but I want to be a responsible owner when I look for one to buy/adopt.

I would strongly suggest adopting a pug, good breeders working to improve their health can be hard to find and this is usually done by breeding with similar, healthier breeds. If you do choose to get a pug or pug mix, though, you absolutely need to familiarize yourself with the health issues associated with pugs because they can be costly and gruesome so you need to be emotionally and financially prepared to handle that.


anonymous asked:

1. Would you and K ever get a dog? 2. What is your favorite comic page you've made so far? 3. If you had the ability to wipe out a single kind of food from this Earth, what would it be?

1. Absolutely and we’ve talked about it at length. Once we have the yard space and the funds to take care of one, we want a German Shepherd (or most specifically, a Shiloh/a shepherd without such inbreeding and hip problems). I’ve had two in my past and they were awesome dogs.

2. Probably Crown of Thorns, Page 3 from FindChaos, but Cross, Page 10 has a soft spot in my heart since I love fight scenes so damned much.

3. Salmon. I don’t like fish as a general rule (shellfish and catfish get a very grudging pass), but I hate, hate, haaaaaate salmon in every form. I would be so glad to see that offensive lump of slimy stink disappear forever.  


Fancy Pigeon (and English Carrier, top right) Breeds

Easily domesticated, with short generation times and friendly disposition, pigeons have long been ideal for “fancy” breeders - people who wanted to breed an animal based on looks, like the majority of modern dog and cat breeds.

Where the standard carrier pigeon is the simply-colored greyhound of the sky, fancy pigeons are everything from the problem-ridden, overly-droopy modern iteration of the basset hound, to the functional-but-fancy Cardigan Welsh corgi, to the ornamental-but-sound Maltese.

A fancy pigeon show is more like a cat show than a dog show, though. The breeds have largely been derived for their looks, though a few (such as the Maine Coon cat, or the Scandaroon pigeon) served additional purposes at some point in time. The animals are kept in cages, divided by color and type, and are most prized if they’re relaxed with handling, but still the type to “strut” and show off.

Read more about some of the most popular fancy pigeon breeds on Mental_floss.


Illustrirtes Mustertauben-Buch. Author unknown, 1880.

risingaboveeveryday: The tumblr “nowyoukno” just posted a “factoid” about “the extremely rare and majestic golden tiger”. Just thought I’d say something.

(Here is the post)

I’m posting this because I could not reply back to you via private messaging nor could I access your ask box.

I just viewed nowyoukno’s blog, its just like all the other ‘factoid’ blogs where they just post ‘facts’ with a source back to wiki, and they don’t explain anything further. I was thinking about reblogging it, but I thought explaining on here would be the same anyways. So, yes, from what I’ve read and researched, there seems to be approximately 30 or less golden tigers worldwide (all captive), but the problem (which the nowyoukno blog conveniently left out) is that they’ve been extremely, extremely inbred to acquire their phenotype. Although the color morph is rare, which I believe is only found in captive specimens, the golden tiger is not rare because it is not a separate subspecies and therefore cannot be endangered (tigers in general are an endangered species, but the specific golden tiger is not - golden tigers are also impure, meaning they’ve been inbred, plus they might be mixed tigers or tiger ‘mutts’, with no pure genetic lines, and cannot aid conservation). Factoid posts like these really bother me because they spread misinformation or purposefully leave out information, its just annoying, idk. 

Meet Old Gray Guy, the wolf who saved Isle Royale. 

In 1949, a pair of wolves wandered across an ice bridge made to the Isle Royale, during a harsh winter from Ontario. Since that winter, the wolves that live on Lake Superior’s Isle Royale are completely isolated from all other wolves. Inbreeding was becoming a serious threat for the wolf population.

But in 1997, one immigrant male wolf injected some much-needed fresh genes into the mix, and we know because of the poop he left behind. The arrival of this extremely virile wolf may go a long way to keep the population genetically viable.

The Old Gray Guy (so-named because as he aged his fur became very pale, an unusual phenomenon) was larger and more territorial than most of the native wolves. His own pack grew to an unusually large 10 wolves, and displaced and drove to extinction one of the other 4 packs on Isle Royale. It was determined that by 2009, 56% of the wolves on Isle Royale had descended from Old Gray Guy. By the end of his eight years of breeding, he produced 34 pups.

Scientists expected that this would create a “genetic rescue” population boom, but it did not happen. The average reproduction after the Old Gray Guy arrived was no different from before. Yet this does not mean that he had no effect. What excites researchers about the Old Gray Guy is that he may have performed genetic rescue, which involves the sudden influx of new genes into an otherwise stale population. Isolated populations risk losing genetic diversity, which in turn makes them far more vulnerable to being totally wiped out by disease.

Sadly, the genetic rescue may have come too late for the Isle Royale wolves. While there were once three packs, now there’s only 8 wolves left, who suffer inbreeding problems, and right now it’s most likely their population will die off.

Read more on the current status of wolves on Isle Royale here.

(Old Gray Guy is the lighter coloured wolf in the middle of the picture)

anonymous asked:

Um, can I ask why purebred dogs have so many problems? Or is there already a post on the subject?

The concept of purebred dogs is not a bad one; it’s just the state of many purebred dogs (and other animals) is awful right now.

Theoretically, having a purebred dog would be a way of determining size, looks, and approximate temperament of the animal you are hoping to get. And that is generally a good thing; some owners live in apartments and some live on farms, some want working dogs and some want lapdogs. It’s good for both the owner and the animal if they match up.

Where breeding can go wrong is when the looks and price of an animal matter more than the quality of life that its genes will cause it to have.

The two main issues affecting purebred animals can be summarized to inbreeding depression and overbreeding, both of which I’ll discuss in detail (and with science) below.

Keep reading


Genetic Researchers Solve Mystery of White Tigers

The white tiger is a rare pigmentation variant of the Bengal tiger. Records of white tigers in India date back to the 1500s, in Assam, Bengal, Bihar and especially from the former State of Rewa. They appear able to survive in the wild, as their primary prey, such as deer, are probably colorblind. The animals were widely hunted, and the last known free-ranging white tiger was shot in 1958. Habitat destruction, illegal poaching, and disease via tsetse fly probably contributed to the cats’ decline in the wilderness.

Captive white tigers have been inbred to preserve the recessive white coat trait, leading some to speculate the trait is a genetic defect - a very similar practice to achieve purebred ‘pedigree’ dogs, cats and horses. (unfortunately there are breeders that follow the unscrupulous practice of a mill by carelessly churning out these coveted exotic breeds to sell to wannabe owners, resulting in major defects)

The latest studies conducted by author Shu-Jin Luo of China’s Peking University, shines a new light in how the strikingly beautiful, milky coats of white tigers are caused by a single change in a known pigment gene called SLC45A2, which is linked to light coloration in modern Europeans as well as horses, chickens and fish.

Luo’s team mapped the genomes of a family of 16 tigers — both white and orange. The researchers also sequenced the full genomes of the three parent tigers. They validated their findings in 130 unrelated tigers. The gene variant explains why the majestic cats lack the rich orange shade of their feline cousins but still have their famous dark stripes.

Luo and colleagues are calling for a captive management program to maintain both white and orange Bengal tigers, and possibly to reintroduce the cats back into the wild.

The findings are detailed (May 23 - 2013) in the journal Current Biology.

via national geographic / livescience / sci-news / actionbioscience / ap / getty / puihang miles 


Is poor little Rosie the puppy mill chihuahua blue merle? Is she double dapple (hard to tell since she’s missing a lot of fur), and could that along with inbreeding/careless breeding explain her appearance? Here is her website, she has a slew of wtf deformities, but at least she’s in a good home now and is improving.

      She’s definitely merle, but I think she’s liver - her nose appears to be brown. She could be double (some doubles are cryptic - since merle dilutes patches at random, there is a chance that it will not even show up) but that wouldn’t explain her appearance.
      She’s not necessarily a “puppy mill” dog, since puppy mills are generally for-profit operations. Her owner was accumulating, not selling, dogs.
      She was conceived in a hoarding situation where animals were inbred and malnourished and received no veterinary care. The conditions of her dam as well as the accumulation of deleterious recessives could have a devastating impact on the population’s overall vigor, causing developmental as well as genetic defects to be expressed.
      I don’t know much about the animals kept, but it’s entirely fathomable in a situation like this that all of the Chihuahuas descended from a single breeding pair inbred over generations with no human interference.

White tigers are not albino, nor are they a unique species of tiger - rather, they’re a color morph due to a rare double recessive gene. Since only 1 in 10,000 Bengal tigers will be born white in the wild, and even then they often will not survive, the white tigers we see in places like zoos, or the above advertisement, are the product of years of inbreeding.

Due to this white tigers often have a menagerie of health issues such as crossed eyes, cleft palates, scoliosis, hip dyslplasia, immune system deficiencies, and neurological disorders. Thes animals serve no conservation purpose and often live shortened, miserable lives. 

Kenny is an extreme example of this, but he is certainly not alone. The white tigers we see have underlying health issues, and the ones that wear their genes on their sleeves like Kenny are hidden away.

The media has a great impact on the desireability of animals. After 101 Dalmations there was a huge boom in demand for Dalmations, which were shortly after deposited in shelters and discarded on the streets once owners realized it was more than they could handle.

The same occurs with white tigers. White tigers are showcased and glorified, promoted as some mystical, mysterious being, a rare gem! Thusly unwitting people fall in love with these animals and want to see more of them, and so long as there is money to be made from the exploitation of white tigers greedy subhumans will continue to breed with no regard for the individual animals or the species.

Tell Subway, a restaurant priding itself on it’s  alleged environmental awareness,  how you feel about them using a white tiger in their advertisment and commercial for “bold new flavors" and contributing to the demand of these inbred felines?

Subway, if you want to use a white tiger to promote your food then be honest use one like Kenny.

Inbred royals show traces of natural selection

Study suggests the Spanish Habsburgs evolved to mute the effects of inbreeding, but other geneticists are unconvinced.

“King Charles II of Spain was physically and mentally disabled, infertile — and extremely inbred. When he died in 1700, aged 38, so did the male line of the Spanish Habsburg royal family, as famous for their pointed jaws as for their extreme consanguinity.

A provocative analysis now suggests that the Habsburg royal family might have evolved under natural selection over three centuries to blunt the worst effects of inbreeding. Evolutionary theory predicts such a ‘purging’ process, and researchers have documented the effect in animals and plants. But evidence among humans is scant — in part because of the dearth of data on inbred families spanning many generations.

Royal families such as the Habsburgs are an ideal place to look, says Francisco Ceballos, a geneticist at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, who led the research. He and colleague Gonzalo Álvarez used written records to track the marriages, births and deaths of 4,000 individuals across more than 20 generations. “The royal dynasties of Europe are a lab of inbreeding for human populations,” says Ceballos. The team’s study is published this month in Heredity1(read more).

***I’m going with a statistical fluke.

(Source: Nature)

Hairlessness in Akhal Teke (and Belgian Draft and Saddlebred) horses happens more frequently than in other breeds.

The Akhal Teke breed has been severely selected towards having a thin and sparse coat/mane/tail ever since the breed began to steer towards being more of a show than work horse. 

Inbreeding has been linked to this problem. Many foals born without hair (aka Hairless Foal Syndrome) do not make it to be an adult—but a handful like this specimen do (though often with many health problems). 

Sea World Responds to Blackfish Documentary, Sea Shepherd Sets the Record Straight

The documentary Blackfish has left a desperate SeaWorld in its wake, struggling to stay afloat in a sea of bad press and criticism from the public. As performer after performer (eight in total, so far) cancels their scheduled show for SeaWorld’s upcoming “Bands, Brews & BBQ” concert series due to concerns raised by the film, SeaWorld has fought back with a list of responses that they have called an open letter from SeaWorld’s “animal advocates.” 

Keep reading

Skulls of early humans carry telltale signs of inbreeding

Buried for 100,000 years at Xujiayao in the Nihewan Basin of northern China, the recovered skull pieces of an early human exhibit a now-rare congenital deformation that indicates inbreeding might well have been common among our ancestors, new research from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Washington University in St. Louis suggests.

The skull, known as Xujiayao 11, has an unusual perforation through the top of the brain case — an enlarged parietal foramen (EPF) or “hole in the skull” — that is consistent with modern humans diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation in the homeobox genes ALX4 on chromosome 11 and MSX2 on chromosome 5.

These specific genetic mutations interfere with bone formation and prevent the closure of small holes in the back of the prenatal braincase, a process that is normally completed within the first five months of fetal development. It occurs in about one out of every 25,000 modern human births.

Although this genetic abnormality is sometimes associated with cognitive deficits, the older adult age of Xujiayao 11 suggests that any such deficits in this individual were minor.

Traces of genetic abnormalities, such as EPF, are seen unusually often in the skulls of Pleistocene humans, from early Homo erectus to the end of the Paleolithic.

"The probability of finding one of these abnormalities in the small available sample of human fossils is very low, and the cumulative probability of finding so many is exceedingly small," suggests study co-author Erik Trinkaus, the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor of Anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

"The presence of the Xujiayao and other Pleistocene human abnormalities therefore suggests unusual population dynamics, most likely from high levels of inbreeding and local population instability." It therefore provides a background for understanding populational and cultural dynamics through much of human evolution.