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Eat your heart out Jemima!
David Cavill takes a look at the recent documentary, Animals in the womb - Dogs

This was the sort of programme Pedigree Dogs Exposed could have been. Had Jemima made the points she wanted make in this way, then this is the sort of review it might have received.
I recently watched the Channel 4 documentary Animals in the Womb - Dogs. To say that I was gob-smacked (a term I am very reluctant to use) is an understatement, but I cannot think of any other which expresses my admiration and appreciation of this truly remarkable and wonderful documentary.

It is all Pedigree Dogs Exposed was not - a sound, scientific, balanced and incredibly well produced and beautifully photographed programme with a superb, clear and concise commentary based on research and science and which was absolutely up to date, informed and educated. It used no emotional tricks or sleight of hand, explained clearly the foundation and background of its subject - and allowed you to make up your own mind about the issues raised. It explained and described the process of selective breeding and its consequences, but made no biased, moral or ethical judgements. It was an exceptional and extraordinary example of programming and I cannot praise it too highly.


The phrase that rings in my mind was used during the caesarean section of the Chihuahua too small to whelp naturally: 'Man has caused this problem and has also provided the solution'. Think about it. Here is an approach which is reasoned and reasonable, clearly explains the dilemmas and the reasons for them

In the programme, the complex background to the development of the dog was revealed by carefully documenting the in-utero development of three very different breeds of dog and their single ancestor, the grey wolf. The dogs featured were the Neapolitan Mastiff, the Chihuahua and the Golden Retriever. It may not sound exciting stuff but it was absolutely riveting
By following their foetal progress, the film explored the similarities between wolves and dogs, explained the differences and why they have probably occurred and described the unique characteristics that make each breed so distinctive - and why they have developed.


Using ground-breaking photographic techniques, state-of-the-art special graphics, revolutionary 4D scanning techniques and anatomically accurate models, the film demonstrated the amazing development of the dog family from embryo to birth. Not to put too fine a point on it, the results were stunning!

The explanation of the way in which the grey wolf was developed into the domestic dog 15,000 years ago was clear and comprehensible and the reasons for the establishment of 400 or so different breeds explained.

The programme also outlined how, with humans controlling their breeding, the dog has become the most diverse single species on the planet and from mating to whelping explains how the secrets of their development lie buried (and now exposed) in their sixty-three day journey from conception to delivery.

You can see it on Channel 4's free 'catch up service on your computer. Do not hesitate. If you did not see it you have a treat in store. This is how 'scientific' programme should be done.

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Great programme.