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08/02/2011

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Jenny

I have heard of it. I wish man would stop messing around with nature for no real purpose or benefit/conservation for the authentic big cats. I doubt it would survive in the wild or live to any age. I find it sad.

Bettyjane

I wonder if the enhanced size reduces it's natural life-span compared to the tiger and lion. (rather like large dogs living less than their smaller canine counterparts.)

And Jenny---you're absolutely right. To what end!

Jenny

Hi Bettyjane. This is a hobby-horse of mine which presses buttons. There have been several of these animals bred in captivity in the US, but I've seen nothing about how long they lived or if they are still alive. We have many elderly big cats and other animals living in our good zoos and it makes news when they pass on. I'm sure it's weight would reduce lifespan. Elephants and Rhinos have evolved over thousands of years to carry that massive weight, the wild population appears to be in a good state now they're clamping down on poachers, and the wild game hunts in the past are simply not acceptable. Strangely enough, the larger dog breeds are living longer than they used to, probably due to responsible breeding which tries to eradicate genetic faults like HD or heart disease at one time they were given the max of 7/8, a friend's Danes have been approx 12, it was cancer that got one of them in the end.

Growltiger

Yep, we're all pretty up to date here on TP -- Agree that interbreeding wild animals for no purpose except you can is pretty stupid. Jenny's right about larger animals living longer. My Irish Wolfhound lived to 11, same length of time as my Chow Chow (50 lbs).
I'm sure advances in vet. medicine helped.

Bettyjane

That's an amazing statistic--a 12 year old Dane. A former neighbor of ours always had Danes and I believe 8 was the oldest.

Bettyjane

I ADORE Irish Wolfhounds and they were on our short-list, but the average age I kept hearing put us off. (7!!!) I always hear that the heart gives out due to that rapid growth.

Jenny

Love Wolfhounds too. Newfoundlands and St Bernards are also living much longer, again responsible, selective breeding. Good breeders have their 'mums' and 'dads' tested first rather than pass anything on to their progeny and subsequent heartache for the new owners of puppies. Also as you say GT, advances in vet medicine and surgery. My friend's Shepherds have lived from 10-14, usually paralysis at the back has eventually ended their lives, she never has less than 4 or 5 at any one time, all rescues, some of her late rescues were on death row and couldn't be placed in regular homes.. In the show world veteran classes start from 7+. lol I don't consider a 7yr old a veteran.

sperry

(Leaping deftly onto my trusty soapbox....) I think that the reason for many scientific experiments is simply fear. We are afraid of that which we cannot control. We think if we can explain it, we can control it, and we will eliminate our fear. Two problems: 1) there are tons of things that will NEVER be under our control, and 2) the fear is at our core and will not be eliminated by control on this level (so it's curing the symptom, not the disease).

Jenny

Years ago during the Victorian era, it was exploitation for monetary gain of the public's fascination for circus 'freaks', usually those folks were born the way they were, eg the bearded lady and John Merrick, the elephant man who was later rescued from that indignity
and lived out the remainder of his life in relative comfort at the London Hospital.
This is how I view this experiment.

RafaFan

We learn from this experiment that Federer and Sharapova shouldn't get too close to each other. The most talented tennis howler monkey monster would result for sure: 32+ GS and dEaDLy grunts with 200+ dB.

Growltiger

Do not deprive yourself of this wonderful breed of dog. They are large enough to be protectors (who wants to challenge them?), but docile in nature (I read they cannot be trained to attack humans). In the house, they're less trouble than a small dog. They lie around like rugs. They have no interest in running away. Ours got out of the fence once and walked around to the front door because he knew he'd have a better chance to be let inside. They are great with children. We had three. The first was poorly bred and lived to 7 1/2 because of hip dysplasia. The second died at 2 due to an anesthetic accidental death (like greyhounds, they do not tolerate anesthesia well and you have to be sure the vet knows what s/he's doing). Our third lived to 11 and eventually went down in the back end as have all our big dogs except the shepherd who died of cancer. None of the wolfhounds had heart problems. We "downgraded" to small dogs (shepherds) when we moved to the beach and had a three story house. Wolfhounds are like ponies, they'll do steps, but it's not their favorite thing. They don't shed and require little grooming. A smaller (kind of) version of the IWH is the Scottish deerhound, a wonderful breed. I regret that we never got one. We've had a chow, three wolfhounds and four German shepherds and all have been wonderful companions. (We usually have more than one dog at a time, at times we've had three). Do your research. Find a breeder who's dogs you like and query them about the average life span. Go to dog shows, haunt the Wolfhound ring, ask questions. Our 11 year old WH came from a breeder who is now retired (Imperial Irish Wolfhounds in Michigan). Give the WH a chance; you'll get BIG LOVE in return. A funny -- My dogs know I don't like to have my feet licked. So the IWH, knowing that, would do "drive by" licks. He'd walk past he hassock if I was barefooted, do a swift lick and keep going. Great dog.

Growltiger

Jenny, we "scaled down" in size from IWHs to German shepherds. The first two we got from breeders; the two we have no are rescues. They reward us every day with their gratitude for giving them a good home. My previous shepherds lived 10 and 12 years respectively. The ten year old got cancer. The two we have now are 9 years old and (knock wood) are in good health.

Bettyjane

Great post Growl, thanks. I'm hopeful for the longevity of all breeds being extended, but especially with the larger dogs. I was pleased to see a deerhound win at Westminster this year---it's so hard for the sporting breeds to do well there---indoors don't do justice to that great gait. I always tell my friends that larger dogs are infinitely easier to share a house with---not yapping all over the place, very sedate indoors, even my crazy setter is extremely calm inside. When I went to the dogshow and scampered over to see the wolfhounds, one of them came over and started nuzzling me (I had no food.) The owner/breeder said I should be VERY honored as that was unusual.

Jenny

I did a crazy thing at a dog show, it was Crufts. I wanted to see up close this famous Lab who was winning everything in sight since he was a year old, a full multi champion, not just a show champ [SH CH] which some gundog champs are because they haven't passed the gun test. He was the most beautiful black Labrador I had ever seen, even to this day, he was apecial in every way. I walked over to his bench and instinctively threw my arms around him, not something I would recommend! He gently nuzzled his kind head on my shoulder and neck like a perfect gent greeting a long lost friend.. He was over 14 when he passed in quiet, happy retirement with his breeder and I cried as if he were my own.

Bettyjane

Very moving Jenny! I'm happy you had the opportunity to meet him.

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