Dog Food Advertisement FAIL

DogFoodAdFailThis a real ad for a real brand of ‘natural, grain-free raw dog food,’ that was prominently featured on a blog I was reading today. The company says, “We named our company after Charles Darwin, whose work embodies this approach of being “Inspired by Nature, Informed by Science.””

I am sure the pug is a customers dog, and that’s very nice and sweet and all. But the juxtaposition of Darwin, the father of natural selection, and a pug made me laugh hysterically. Of course, I am easily amused. YMMV.

BTW, we have a dog named Darwin. And while I am pretty hard-assed about dog breeding NOT being comparable to natural selection…yeah, well, you probably get my drift.


  1. The differences between your Darwin and that poor pug are as radical as that between two morphologically different species. How some people can look at a pug and see any kind of beauty or evidence of knowledgeable breeding is beyond me. I look at a pug or dogs of other breeds ‘Man’ has warped into deformed freaks and just feel pity for them.

  2. I think it’s most similar to sexual selection, where a female bird finds something bizarre a sign of fitness, and over the generations the feature becomes more and more exaggerated. Only here, it’s not a sign of fitness. It’s a sign of whatever crazy human caprice that can be imagined.

  3. Well, yes, but on second glance, let me offer a different view.

    What is natural selection except keeping those traits that ensure species survival? And so, since dogs are mostly domesticated beasties, those traits are the ones that make them “useful” to humans. And what is a useful dog these days to the vast majority of humans who are urban or suburban and believe all food comes package (naturally) from the super market? Not hunting or herding, but being a good couch potatoe companion. And that is where our smoosh faced friends come in.. Now I know your preferences run toward the pointy nose fleet of foot that can still (and will) run down a gazelle. But lets face it, most humans, upon whom dogs depend for their survival, have no gazelles available (and haven’t a clue anyway) and are the anthropomorphizing sorts (I was going to say idiots but recalled the blog policy and didn’t) who think of their dogs as “fur kids” and substitute them for children (which, if you’ve had ungrateful kids, may not be the worst idea) so those smoosh faces tug at a hardwired part of or hominid hearts (wish I could attach pic of momma gorilla and son). I could go on about the appeal of bulldogs as well as pugs, the most untrainable of all breeds (actually, that is not true, but the trainer has to be smarter than they are, so that combination is rare) and why in heavens name so many people want to be owned by one. Or maybe I do understand; all those people are looking for a benevolent authority figure, and bulldogs certainly qualify on that count.

    Anyhow, back to the subject, Darwinian natural selection. All these breeds that will not survive in the wild have been selected for the qualities valued by their servants who feed, house and spoil them. So doesn’t that qualify for natural selection? Maybe???

    1. Natural selection doesn’t make all animals fit to live in every part of the wild. An arctic fox can’t live in the Sahara and a fennec can’t live on Svalbard. If these animals were to find themselves in either environment they would die.

      Dogs don’t live in a natural environment, but they are still experiencing selection pressures.And different selection pressures mean that populations have different fitness. Bulldogs might be horribly deformed animals, but as population, they are doing very well. Their genes are being spread through the generations over and over. So they are success story from purely gene-centered perspective.

      You don’t have turnspit dogs anymore, though they were once a very successful type.

      The only difference between this kind of selective breeding and natural selection in the Darwinian sense is the mechanism doing the selecting.

    2. If judging evolutionary success by the number of offspring an individual organism has, and the successful passing of its genes into future generations, you would probably be right in pointing out pugs and bulldogs as examples evolutionary success. The willingness (using that term ever so loosely) of a species to allow itself to be domesticated and deformed into a myriad of diverse shapes and sizes is the surest way that species can assure its survival. Though we (of a more naturalist bent) tend to think of ‘Survival of the Fittest’ in a natural environment as the Darwinian form of success, there are undoubtedly far more Cornish Game Chickens in the world today than there are Red Jungle Fowl, the Cornish Game being much more “fit” for the role it must play in a human controlled world. The same is true of the domestic dog; but I still refuse to think of the changes brought about by domestication and selective breeding (by humans), for whatever reason, as any form of evolution.

  4. When you’re born a pug, you need all the “healthiest” things you can get!

    I will say that every pug I’ve ever met has a sweet, people-oriented temperament. Maybe they’re just genetically wired to understand that they would be totally screwed without human intervention.

    Also, having just done a review for something whose company mascot is a pug… it was really hard for me not to ascribe all the brand’s faults to the pugginess of the pug. Like maybe if their brachycephalic mascot didn’t “take [their] breath away while hanging around the office daily,” as they put it, they could all enjoy a nice walk down to the pet or grocery store and replenish their inventory THAT way instead of sitting on their round tushies just waiting for a box of pre-selected crap to be delivered straight to their doorstep.

    1. For the most part, there is little wrong with the “minds’ (as in thought process and/or trainability) of most AKC or KC dogs. My Irish wolfhounds and Alaskan wolfhounds, and even the carefully selected Alaskan malamutes I use in my breeding program are very intelligent and highly trainable animals, but the trainability of the puppies I produce is lost on the average owner who gets one of these puppies. It became obvious to me that even the people I carefully select to own one of my animals seldom go to the extremes I do when training their dogs. They all come back for our group “dog runs” and say, “Why won’t *** do that?” or “Why doesn’t ******** listen to me/respond like that?” One couple who has one of our dogs that is now almost two years old and are friends of ours doesn’t even like taking their dog out off-leash because she won’t consistently obey them, and they’re afraid she’ll see something and run off chasing it. The husband of this couple, a retired college professor, once said to me, “We love taking **** out with your dogs, because she does everything your dogs do. And your dogs… Well, they do whatever you tell them to.”
      And we’re all working with the same family/type of dogs here, it’s just that a lot of people don’t expect much of their dogs, and think it’s some kind of magic because I have dogs that actually listen to me and obey. Many years ago I started adding wolf “blood” to a line of shepherd-malamute-husky cross dogs I had developed, to take advantage of the superb physical qualities of the wolf. But it always bothered me that I just couldn’t breed a reliably trainable wolf-dog, and I constantly warned potential owners of any wolf-dog pups I produced that the pups would grow into hard-headed beast that would never consistently return on recall. Because trainability is only second to physical soundness and health in my mind, I have stopped breeding dogs with wolf in them, but the point was moot with most people who wanted one, since they just don’t expect that much from a pet anyway. I assume anyone who would own a pug is this way to even more of an extreme.
      I don’t think I’ve ever met a pug that I didn’t like the personality of, I just feel so sorry for them when they practically asphyxiate in excitement at finding someone who will finally scratch their ass for them. So most pugs and other physically crippled “purebred” dogs are perfectly adequate mentally (as long as their craniums are large enough to actually contain their brains) for the purpose they were bred for (just being a couch potato pet, playmate for the kids, or a pseudo infant for some confused adult), it’s just that they’re trapped in these deformed and painful bodies. And those terrible bodies were created just to pacify the vanity of some deluded people. No dog ever developed a pug jaw and face to “do a job”. And though I’m a huge fan of big (healthy and physically active) dogs, there is no reason a little dog can’t also be a perfect physical specimen. I imagine it would be even easier to produce perfectly sound small dogs than physically sound large dogs. My little Patterdale is no larger than a pug, yet she’s built along the lines of a tiny coursing hound (there is obviously whippet in her background). She has a completely “natural” muzzle and jaw, and no breathing problems at all. So if breeders would just get their heads out of their a**es and admit they’ve ruined many good dog breeds, it would only take a few judicious out-crosses to rescue untold numbers of future pugs and dogs like them from their own prisons of physical deformity. Get rid of the closed registry system and start breeding healthy dogs.

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