Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

RICHARD FREEMAN: ugly dogs (and ugly cats)

Sam, the world’s ugliest dog, died on November 18th 2005 at the age of 14. His unique visage was known all over the world. A bred Chinese crested dog he had pearl like cataracts over his eyes, wrinkled skin that, except for an unruly mop on his head and snaggle teeth. He was likened to the Chupacabra!

His owner Susie Lockheed, had three other dogs named TatorTot, TinkerBell and PixieNoodle.

World's Ugliest Dog Contest is an annual contest at the colleseum in Petaluma, California.

Most dogs that enter are Chinese crested dogs. These are naturally weird looking. Bald except for a scraggy top knot.

Most of their teeth are pointy like the canines in other dogs

These strange little dogs my be resbonsable for some of the more oddball mystery animal reports one hears from time to time.

There are many crested dog cross breeds such as crested dog chihuahua, crested dog x pug, crested dog x shih tzu, crested dog x affenpinscher (German Monkey Dogs) and crested dog x Yorkshire terrier.

The resulting animals can look variously like plucked chickens, the ultimate evolution of the bat, rats from Sellafield, Muppets if they were made by Hammer Studios or something found stalking the woods in the Death zone around Chernobyl. Most have protruding tongues and drool like me at a female body builders contest.

Recent winners include Minnie Me, who looks like a chihuahua who has been put through a threshing macine. Lil Biggles, a crested shih-tzu mix who resembles a cross between a giant pinkie and the Mekon and hass recently given birth to some sausage-like puppies. Munchkin, a daemonic looking sphere of hair, teeth, and eyeballs. Genie, who looks like the lovechild of ‘Animal’ from he Muppet Show and a diseased battery hen. Miss Ellie a sort of anteater meets plucked turkey. Squiggy, who is a mix of Chinese Crested and Japanese Chin but sort of looks like a futuristic, flightless bat. Mr Magoo who looks like the child of Jimmy Edwards and a naked mole rat.

And what do I think of these ugly mutts? I think they are just too darling for words!

If you think that only dogs are ugly then I’ve included a picture of an ugly cat. Bald except for a ridge of spiky hair down its spine. It looks even more like the chupacabra than Sam did!


From Wikipedia: Although hairless dogs have been found in many places in the world, it is unlikely that the origins of the modern Chinese Crested are in China. In the 1920s, Debrorah Woods and Ida Garrett jointly created the 'Crest Haven Kennel' and began to purposefully breed and record the lineages of their Chinese Crested dogs. Their dogs are the true foundation of every Chinese Crested alive today. They founded the American Hairless Dog Club in 1959, which was eventually incorporated into the American Chinese Crested Club (ACCC) in 1978. The ACCC became the US parent club for the breed when the Chinese Crested was recognised by the American Kennel Club thirteen years later, in 1991.

The Chinese Crested was officially recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale[13] in 1987, by The Kennel Club (UK) in 1981, by the American Kennel Club in 1991,[14] and by the Australian National Kennel Council in 1995.

The Chinese Crested breed, either in purebred form or as a hybrid with chihuahua, has won all eight of the previous World's Ugliest Dog Contests.

The Mexican hairless dog or Xolo, however is native to Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Archaeological evidence shows that the breed existed in the New World for more than 3,500 years. Most likely, early forerunners of the Xolo originated as spontaneous hairless mutations of indigenous New World dogs. Hairlessness may have offered a survival advantage in tropical regions. Their value in ancient native cultures is evidenced by their frequent appearance in the art and artifacts produced by the Colima, Aztec and Toltec civilizations in Mexico.


1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

The hairless gene that causes this hairlessness in New World pariah-type dogs and the Chinese Crested dogs is a dominant gene. It also gives them teeth that aren't firmly rooted in the mouth. Thus, many Chinese cresteds and other hairless dogs with this gene often have missing teeth or no teeth at all.

There is another gene that causes hairlessness in domestic dogs. In the US, a rat terrier gave birth to a hairless puppy in Louisiana. (A rat terrier is a dog that developed from early imported terriers to the United States that became well-known at ratting pits.) This dog was hairless, but the gene that caused it was recessive. This dog was used to create a strain of rat terriers that had no hair. However, this breed is born with a "peach fuzz." It has normal dentition.

The dogs in the first group typically have a coated variety. In the Chinese crested, you have to breed the coated variety to the hairless variety, because if a puppy receives the genes two copies of the dominant gene for hairlessness, the embryos will not develop.

In part of Latin America, one can see hairless pariah dogs. The government of Peru requires that at least two hairless dogs appear at any ancient ruins site. In Mexico, I have seen dogs with large areas of no hair. The dogs did not have mange.

There is a photo of a street dog in Mexico with the hairless gene here:

Hairlessness was obviously encouraged by the peoples of that part of the world through selective breeding. However, it is possible that this hairlessness evolved as a way of controlling ectoparasites. It is well-known that at various sits in Latin America, the number of dogs that were living in these cities was quite high, which means the transmission of ectoparasites was probably very high as well. Any dog that had a little less hair probably could avoid some of the heavier infestations of these parasites and have a bit more of an advantage living at such high densities.

Now, it's possible that some of these dogs have introduced these hairless genes into the coyote population. Recently, we found out that the black wolves of North America got their black color through interbreeding with dogs, so it's possible that the "blue dog" phenomenon could be the result of coyotes getting these hairless genes from dogs. Either that, or the coyotes are developing their own hairless adaptation parallel to the hairlessness in domestic dogs.

One of the only problems I have with that thesis is that the coyotes would also develop bad dentition associated with this gene and be unable to survive well in the wild. If it had the recessive gene for hairlessness, it would be able to thrive in the wild. However, these coyotes would be totally hairless if they were the result of that gene.

However, I would be interested to find out what is causing coyotes to go hairless.