Cute Dog Craze Yields Dumber, Weaker Breeds

Shift from function to fashion impairs dog brains: study
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jan 19, 2009 5:35 AM CST
The smooth collie fared worst among the 13,000 dogs in the study for sociability. A border collie is pictured here.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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(Newser) – Humans' quest for beautiful, quirky "leash candy" is making man's best friend dumber, weaker, and more introverted, reports the Times of London. Bred less and less to be hunters, guard dogs, and herders, current breeds can do little more than look pretty, a Swedish study of dog behavior has found.

“Modern breeding practices are affecting the behavior and mental abilities of pedigree breeds, as well as their physical features,” said study's author. Magnifying the neglect of dog's mental qualities is a preference for purebreds that has increased inbreeding and, consequently, the prevalence of genetic disorders. Smooth collies and Rhodesian ridgebacks fared worst among the 13,000 dogs in the study.