Maine Coon breeders should not drift into extreme breeding
I've just written an article about dog breeding actually (link). It concerns an article in The Times newspaper about the Kennel Club in the UK. They have decided to change the breed standard for the French bulldog. The purpose: to make it absolutely clear to breeders that they must create a dog with a muzzle 👌.
Over the years they've decided to breed dogs with flat faces because they look cute. They look like babies. The breed standard was probably slightly vague on this topic allowing breeders some discretion and leeway.
|Extreme-bred MC.. Impressive, yes, but what about health and where does this sort of breeding take the cat fancy?|
Bill Lambert, the guy in charge of health within the Kennel Club, decided I guess with other council members to tighten up the breed standard to state that French bulldogs must have clearly defined muzzles when viewed in profile.
And they've made it clear that a French Bulldog cannot win a dog show if they have a flat face. The problem is one of health: the flat face prevents proper breathing. The same problem occurs with the flat-faced breeds namely the Persian, Himalayan and exotic shorthair.
What happens is this: if the breed standard is slightly imprecise and often the breed standards are not nailed down to use my language, breeders working within those guidelines drift off target in order to make their cats more commercially attractive to purchasers and to win cat shows. They breed to extreme so their cats (and dogs) are more standout.
And you gradually drift towards a more extreme position to the point where the health of the animal is negatively impacted. This is a possibility for the Maine Coon. The Maine Coon is a well-rounded normal-looking cat because they originate in barn cats. The original Maine Coons were moggies.
Yet, through selective breeding, we see some very extreme examples of the Maine Coon today with huge muzzles and lion like faces. We see Maine Coons with human faces. And enormous ears. And the body-size is also enormous, sometimes. This is despite the fact that the breed standard does not say that Maine Coons have to be huge. They need to look robust and substantial but they needn't be like miniature ponies under the breed standard 🙍.
There is a beauty in the normal, natural appearance of the domestic cat. If you gradually distort the appearance to win cat shows and customers you can end up with health problems and ultimately create an animal which is less attractive.
The Maine Coon health problems are quite well known. You are probably aware of them. They concern the breed's size largely because they are hip and knee joint problems which are exacerbated in a bigger cat. I'm referring to hip dysplasia which is a weak and wobbly hip joint and patella luxation of the knee, when the kneecap slips out of position.
It's important that the cat associations keep a handle on breeders to make sure that they breed natural looking and healthy cats which can be done while still ensuring that the Maine Coon looks like a Maine Coon and is therefore distinguishable from other cat breeds.