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People Are Really Mad About These 'Designer' Horses, But Is That Hypocritical?

NOVEMBER 6, 2017  —  By Matthew Derrick  
Matthew Derrick

Matthew Derrick

Writer and sassy ginger currently residing in central Pennsylvania. Matt spends most of his free time online shopping for clothing that he doesn't need, perfecting the art of eye-rolling, and indulging in all forms of pop culture.

Unrealistic beauty standards portrayed in the media have left thousands, if not millions, of people going to some unbelievable extremes to transform themselves.

And that isn't even limited to humans. Animal breeders partake in practices that lead to genetic disease and deformity all for the sake of producing animals that meet arbitrary breed standards. With gene pools already limited, some breeders are left with no choice but to breed within the same family. That's when things get hairy.

One question remains: When is enough enough? A recent photo of a purebred horse is going viral and it may make you think long and hard about that question.

Meet El Rey Magnum, an Arabian horse that looks more like something out of the Sunday funnies than a real horse.

The nine-month-old colt was bred by Orrion Farms, not for his abilities but for his overall look.

This multi-million dollar horse comes with his very own tag line, “you won’t believe your eyes,” and his unique look is said to be quite popular with both breeders and trainers.

Farm manager and primary breeding advisor for Orrion Farms, Doug Leadly, is thrilled with the results. “There is never perfection but I think this horse is a stepping stone to getting close to perfection. Often times you’ll get the exceptional face that he has but they don’t have a good body, they don’t have good tail carriage, they don’t hold their head high. He does all of that. He is very proud of himself and he has exceptional tail carriage. He loves to move and he sure appears to be show-healthy, bouncy and fast. He loves himself. He is confident and loves to show off,” Leadly said.

And while the demand for a horse like El Rey Magnum may be high, not everyone is so enthused about the horse’s appearance. Some people have voiced their concerns about the unnatural appearance of the colt, pointing to health problems he could run into later in life.

While Arabian horses are often identified by their dished faces with slender throat-latches, the world has never seen a dished face quite like El Rey Magnum’s. Some veterinarians fear that the horse’s exaggerated face may cause breathing problems down the line.The dished face is meant to help Arabian horses survive their naturally dry environment, but the curvature of his is so extreme that it could lead to limited air intake.

Outrageous, right? But if you're offended by this obviously unethical breeding practice, take a look at the animals in your life. If you have a purebred pooch of your own, it's useful to consider what breeding has subjected them to (even if your pup is a rescue). Here are five popular breeds that are notorious for developing health issues directly related to pure breeding.

1. Cocker Spaniels

Dogs like Cocker Spaniels are bred for their floppy ears, but such large ears can make these dogs even more susceptible for frequent ear infections. Cleaning out your dog’s ears every few weeks can help prevent the issue.

2. Chihuahuas or other toy breeds

If your toy-sized pooch is making a honking sound when ever he or she is excited, it could be a result a collapsed trachea. This happens when the cartilage that is responsible for holding the trachea in place becomes weak, causing the trachea to flatten. While some dogs can go their whole life without any repercussions from a collapsed trachea, others may require medication or even surgery to correct it.

3. Pugs

Defining characteristics for pugs are their squished faces and bulging eyes, but both can leave them with serious health problems. The shape of their faces makes it difficult for them to breathe.

4. Dachshunds

Known for their hotdog appearance and elongated bodies, Dachshunds are at a higher risk for serious back injuries. By keeping your weenie at a healthy weight, you can help prevent strain on their back. It's also best to make sure that they never jump up and down off of furniture and to really limit how often they use stairs.

5. Bulldogs

A bulldog’s smushed in face can leave them open to a variety of respiratory problems. Small nostrils as well as soft palates and narrow tracheas could force them to overheat or hyperventilate while trying to regulate their breathing.

(via IFL Science, Web MD, and Veterinary Record )

So what do you think? Is subjecting animals to health problems worth this race to perfection? One way to help dogs dealing with these issues is to look for them at local shelters. Animals like bulldogs are often surrendered because health issues make caring for them more expensive. If you have room in your heart and wallet, that's something to consider.

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