Do any betta breeders actually breed to better the species? Or it it pretty much all just show? In the mouse world there are show breeders and though they breed beautiful show mice anyone who breeds to better the species avoids them like the plague. Because of heavy inbreeding show mice seldom live beyond a year and bloodlines are riddled with horrid genetic flaws and defects. Then you had the pet breeders who actually breed mice for the betterment of the species. Pet breeders still kept beautiful mice but they weeded out the flaws from bloodlines such as popular tumors and weak immune systems. Pet breeders mice also lived an average of 3 years, more than the general lifespan of mice which is 1-2 years.
It got me wondering do any better breeders do this? Breed for health and temperament quality over having perfect show betta's? I know most show betta's are horridly inbreed and have weaker immune systems than a fighter who will be more hardy so to me the fighter is actually the one being bred for the better of the species.
Some things I always thought were good pointers for breeding high quality pet betta's
Hardiness and health: Strong immune systems and fish who are less likely to get sick from stress.
Docile: Less aggressive animals that can be kept with other fish more easily.
Finnage: Sacrifice bigger fancy tails for lighter fins, easier to swim, less tail biting from heavy fins.
Longevity: Living longer than average for betta's
I know with pet breeders a lot of pet breeders have breed the aggression out of their mice. Most people don't know this but normally keeping two male mice together means they will kill each other. Male mice are very aggressive and territorial and will skin each other alive with their teeth and gnaw off each others limbs until one or both die. Like Betta's it will not always happen right away but it will happen. Pet breeders especially in the UK have breed this out COMPLETELY and can safely keep males together under the same conditions you can keep females together. No "you need 10 gallons per mouse and thousands of hiding spots or they will fight." but "You need 10 gallons for 3 mice, one hut...they will snuggle together for warmth at night." YEAH...that is kind of a big thing, even neutered male mice will kill each other but UK three intact males can live peacefully together because that was bred out of them.
It just hit me since i have studied near 5 years now to be a mouse breeder and am in the next few years getting my first bucks from a breeder in France because her bucks are basically 100% perfect for pet breeding stock and even show breeders buy from her because her quality physically and genetically is so superior they freak. Made me think if there are two versions of breeders in the mouse and even rat world then I questioned if there was a pet vs show breeder's in the betta world as well.
And when I say pet betta I don't mean breeders who just breed petco fish, I am talking about breeders who have tracked bloodlines for 10 years to make sure they have the healthiest animals they could possibly breed with the longest life lines. As pet mouse breeders actually tend to put MORE work into their bloodlines and are pickier than show breeders who don't care if their buck's died at 6 months from cancer.