Celebrities like socialite Paris Hilton and pop diva Britney Spears,who are often photographed carrying handbag dogs,have fuelled a rise in the demand for pedigree canines worldwide.
But a new study has now claimed that the pedigree dogs have become increasingly stupid as they are now bred for their looks and not their brains.
Researchers in Sweden,led by Kenth Svartberg of the University of Stockholm,have carried out the study and found strong evidence that breeding dogs for appearance has led to a decline in intelligence.
According to them,the mental and physical agility of many pedigree breeds is being eroded as owners are now looking for docile,pretty pets to live in their homes.
Lead author Kenth Svartberg said the changes happened over the course of just a few generations. Modern breeding practices are affecting the behaviour and mental abilities of pedigree breeds as well as their physical features. The researchers came to the conclusion after analysing nearly 13,000 dogs on characteristics,such as sociability and curiosity,to help him rate 31 different breeds.
They found that those canines bred for appearance,and especially for shows,displayed reduced levels of all these qualities. In addition,attractive appearance was often linked with introversion and a boring personality.
Perhaps the genes behind attractive looks could also be closely linked to those that cause fearfulness, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ quoted Svartberg as saying.
The worst-affected working breeds were smooth collies,once a herding dog,and Rhodesian ridgebacks,which were used for hunting even dangerous game,the Swedish researchers found in their study.