Look at this healthy old- type chow, still used to hunt in China.

According to Vladimir Beregovoy the Chinese call them “bony dogs”.

Here is what they call “fat dogs”, the “improved” Euro-American chow.

How can this dog see, breathe, or walk?

DR John Burchard used the word “qualzucht” in reference to this. I asked the group and Daniela replied first:

“Qualzucht = “torture breeding” in direct translation. It seems to fit just right here. I wonder what other problems, including respiratory and skin disease these poor creatures are prone to, in addition to having to support those huge heads on their miserably deformed bodies…”

In Germany they legislate against it. It is hard to know why such laws are even needed– can’t people SEE?

More good Chinese dogs in a while.

70 thoughts on ““Qualzucht””

  1. The answer is: With their eyes, their noses, and their legs.

    There's nothing about the modern chow that's torture; a picture of dog looking down at you with drastic forced perspective doesn't show what the dog really looks like. Chows are severely penalized for having eyes that are not clearly visible, for having nostrils that are not well open, and for lack of soundness.

    They've got a lot of padding under the skin, and a bunch of hair, but the skull is not abnormally large for the world of dogs and the muzzle is supposed to be proportionate to the backskull in the same ratio that is found, for example, in the corgis. Nobody's asking whether corgis can breathe.

    Ignore the skin, ignore the hair. You have to get your hands on these dogs to appreciate whether they're functional. Unless you've done that, all you're seeing is superficial. It's just as uneducated as looking at an unshorn sheep and talking about how hideous it is that people breed animals shaped like balloons, and how can they possibly walk with those little stick legs under the enormous body.

  2. I think the photo of the "modern" chow is of a chondrodysplastic(sp?) dog–those legs and feet look more dwarfy than the worst show chows I've seen. Still and all, who in their right mind would not prefer the "bony" dog in the top photo? That's a fine looking dog! I've seen "backyard bred" chows in this country that are generations from the show lines, which look similar to the "bony" dog, and I think they look a heck of a lot better than show specimens, and they certainly would be more functional dogs in the field. Although the show chows in this country are not quite THAT bad yet, they are still greatly exagerrated in coat and structure, as most show types eventually get, regardless of breed. What kills me is how conformation show people convince themselves that these hideous exagerrations are somehow artistic and beautiful–an excellent example of how one's idea of "beauty" can be greatly influenced by one's peer group. I mean, who with any sense would want one of the modern, virtually crippled, slope-backed, deformed looking show German Shepherds over the athletic-looking dogs from back in Rin-Tin-Tin's day? I recently got a cheapo copy of some old Rin-Tin-Tin movies from Wal-Mart($5 bucks!), circa 1930's. Those dogs were in numerous scenes, running ahead of horses galloping flat out–you couldn't find a GSD today that could do that. THIS is what is wrong with conformation show breeding–the breeds ARE NOT being "preserved" or improved–they are being destroyed…..L.B.

  3. The Shepherd example is (aside from the Peke) the most commonly cited example of how a breed has been changed, but the fact is that the change from the 1920s to today is a lot less than you'd think. When von Stefanitz judged Morris and Essex in 1930 the dogs were already what we'd call overangulated. The GSD as developed by von Stefanitz has never been a moderate dog; it has always been extreme or exaggerated, and it has always attracted breeders who want to produce dogs at the extremes. The show community at large doesn't like the GSD's exaggeration any more than you do.

    You need to look across the spectrum of breeds and you need to understand structure to comment on what "happens" to show dogs. What tends to change – though often as a result of a breed discovering creme rinse, not deliberate breeding – is coat length, furnishings, the fat layer on the head, etc. The flash factor. What doesn't change is fundamental structure. You put your hands under the coat of a beautiful show Malamute and you put your hands under the coat of a beautiful Poodle and then you move to a show Papillon and a show Kerry Blue Terrier and you're going to be feeling the same landmarks – the laid-back shoulder, long upper arm, the deep chest, the solid topline, the second thigh, the angulation of the stifle. You would feel shockingly little difference (except in size) between the breeds and very little difference between the BIS show dog of the 1930s and the BIS show dog of today. The breed type makes very little impression on anything but the superficial stuff.

    I breed achondroplastic dogs and am very aware of the tradeoffs. It's an ancient and extremely useful mutation that shortens a dog without affecting size. You want a dog who has the physical strength to get the job done but is small enough to fit in and under things, and who will not be hurt by trauma that would break a taller dogs, you shorten and thicken the legs. That has ramifications for cartilage formation, but it fits the dog for its job and the achondroplstic dogs tend to be very sound and incredibly long-lived.

    Breeding an achondroplastic dog for show actually keeps them HEALTHIER, because the standards of the dachshunds, PBGVs, corgis, bassets, etc. put an enormous emphasis on the sound front with minimal turnout. That's the characteristic that's lost first with careless breeding and the turned-out, forward-set front is what leads to arthritis and pain.

    Again, this all comes down to getting your hands on the dog. Pictures are almost useless when the dog has more than a single layer of coat. Examine the dog, watch it move, THEN get critical.

  4. Joanna, you are demonstrating EXACTLY what is wrong with conformation showing with your comments, talking about feeling around a dog's structure and saying nothing has changed much(depending on the breed, of course, as some are much more exagerrated than others). My experience with dogs tends to be with actual WORKING dogs–even if in just a recreational manner, and in the context of REAL FUNCTION(not just feeling them up), there is a vast difference between true working dogs in structure and ability to many show breeds–let's pick one you mentioned which I do have experience with–Alaskan Malamutes. So many of the show malamutes are way oversized(which causes them to overheat quickly, not move as easily, and break down structurally over any distance, not to mention they usually age much quicker). Can they pull sleds? Well, yes, they CAN, but they cannot nearly as well as malamutes or Canadian Inuit dogs(which malamutes are descended from, despite the romantic breed stories attributed to their origin by show people) that have been bred for work, not show. No one who knows what they are doing will purchase a dog for working purposes from show conformation bred dogs–be they huskies for sled work, herding dogs, or hunting dogs. This is a glaring FACT that most conformation people either deny, or are just not aware of. They claim their show dogs can do their original function, but they cannot compete with actual working lines when put to the test. As for German Shepherds, I use them as an example because of what I have SEEN MYSELF regarding this breed in my lifetime. Their structure has most definetely changed–all you have to do is get a breed book and look at photos of the original dogs and you can see the enormous structural difference in the animals compared to modern day GSD's. Captain Von Stephanitz(the originator of the breed) would gasp in horror at the dogs being displayed in shows nowadays–he was first and foremost a proponent of FUNCTION, not following a "breed standard" like some kind of dogmatic(pun intended) religion. And you can bet if the original standard was proving non-functional over time, he would have done everything in his power to change it! But more importantly is the ability to FUNCTION that I mentioned in my first response–NO WAY can these wretched dogs function as the original, athletic ancestors used to–get a copy of those old Rin-Tin-Tin movies and see for yourself–no GSD can run like those dogs used to! What use is a police/war/herding dog that can't run well anymore? And as for GSD's being used now for police/military work–they sure don't get their dogs from showlines, and more and more, the GSD's are being replaced with Malinois for just that reason. You can spout conformation platitudes all you want about how the structure "feels" the same to you, but when it comes right down to it, can that dog still hunt?…..L.B.

  5. I started with ranch-bred Great Pyrenees with goats and sheep and moved to euro-bred Danes (who can and did hunt and bring down big game) before moving to Cardigans for the sake of being able to fit them six to a bed. My dogs show and herd. So I'm not mouthing platitudes; I "do" dogs.

    Like I said, the dog fancy in general does NOT like the GSD in its current form. I stand ringside all the time and hear the comments. The GSD has become all about overreaching and I am not sure why they're in this much trouble but it's worldwide. The German lines have the banana backs; the US lines are far too overangulated in the rear. But this is not a revelation to show people; we all know it. It's not that I, or the typical show breeder, needs to be educated – we're the ones who OWN the old photos, who did the research on the German dogs, who post the Morris and Essex videos, etc. You're getting your information from us, not the other way around.

    Here's the issue with the "working" argument: You can't say that show-bred dogs aren't sound and built in a way that helps them last a lifetime, because they are. Correct conformation is extremely functional, and it is ALWAYS connected with function. Nobody says that a correct upper arm is pretty; the upper arm is there to provide reach and muscle connection. A correct low hock allows the rear leg to extend fully so the dog doesn't bicycle in movement. Those are far more than superficial; they make the dog's body able to easily obey its brain. Solely working/field breeders can get their dogs in huge trouble because they breed for the brain and forget the body. The Pointers winning field trials are often so straight in rear that they have virtually no stifle – gives a great upright tail set but the dog couldn't cover any ground at the trot. There MUST be a balance, a focus on instinct AND a focus on conformation that lets the body obey the brain.

    When told that no, show-bred dogs are functional, and most of them do retain a ton of instinct, and breeders work hard to keep it that way, the argument turns to "Well, nobody serious about working dogs buys from them." And that is true, in certain breeds. Not in others.

    (cont. next)

  6. But here's the problem with that argument: the number of people in the whole nation who need to work dogs, period, is incredibly small. There is no real "need" for dogs and the people "qualified" to breed under those circumstances (Border collies who don't just herd but run thousands of stock; Malamutes who don't run for fun but run thousand-mile freight trips on a regular basis) numbers in less than a handful. If you insist that the only ethical way to produce any breed that ever has worked is to be working them in an authentic way, all breeds but the companions disappear. I'm assuming you don't live in Alaska and regularly take 20-dog sledges loaded with 500 pounds of flour on weeks-long runs, so by your own argument you're not qualified to comment on their conformation OR to even think about breeding them. And neither is anyone who doesn't actually do those things.

    There has to be a place for responsible breeding so that breeds do not die out even when their jobs are gone or virtually gone. And that means keeping instinct intact, keeping conformation sound, even when you cannot hunt otters anymore and never will. Or when you cannot hunt deer with dogs anymore. Or when nobody turns spits with dogs anymore. That's what show breeders do. I've sat with breeders who have dogs who have not been hunted in centuries and the conversation, for hours, is about whether the historic job would have required trotting or galloping and whether therefore we should be looking for a true 45-degree layback or whether 35-40 would be better for the job. It's NEVER about coat, color, ears, or whatever; those are easy to get, easy to influence, easy problems to solve. Structure is the toughie, and it is in every breed whether working or show.

    Talking about whether show breeding OR field breeding should continue, whether show breeders are actually doing dogs a disservice or whether field breeders have it wrong, or any number of thousands of these questions, really does require understanding structure and soundness AND instinct AND working ability and analyzing where tipping points occur and breeds start to go good or bad. That's the conversation I want to be able to have, not "look at all the hair." FORGET THE HAIR. Talk to me about the fact that show-bred Australian shepherds have the correct croup angle for their job and then we're actually in the nitty-gritty of it.

  7. IMO breeding for excessive coat is just as much a sin as breeding for over-exaggerated conformation. The coat is there for a purpose, it is not an accessory to be changed for looks. a non-functional coat means a non-functional dog, no matter how much lip service is paid to breeding for functionality.

  8. The chow is part of the hunting spitz type that is found from Japan and the Russian Far East west through Eurasia to Scandinavia.

    I happen to have perused some chow history books and sites, and I found that one can never find pictures of what the original imports looked like. But I have seen photos of what Konrad Lorenz owned, and one can only surmise that this post is very correct.

    The current chow chow has very, very straight hind legs, enough that the breed has reall issues with hip dysplasia.

    Now, I happen to have seen the real original photos of the first Pekes brought into the West. They could pass for the breed we call Tibetan spaniels.

    The book I saw them in was this one:


    The truth is the dog fancy denies history or makes it up. It's one of their main tactics.

    The original German shepherds were the same size and shape as the Malinois. Of course, you never hear about that.

    Pekes used to be able to breathe and cool themselves easily.

    Golden retrievers used to look like Flat-coats, because that's what they were.

    And chows in the East actually weren't that different from Akitas and Laikas, which are their cousins.

    Of course, that's not the only thing that's happened to the chow. In the past ten years, they have become sweet and gentle animals– which is an improvement over their once infamous aggression, which was the result of overbreeding. The dogs in the East still have to have stronger characters to be good working dogs, though.

    I have said what I think, but I do know where this is going to go– unfortunately.

    The Dog Fancy has a lot of Baghdad Bobs, who will tell you that their armies are victorious just as their regime collaspes.

  9. And the anti-AKC contingent has a ton of people who have never even had their hands on the dogs they talk about. Go get involved in the Peke or the Chow or the Akita or any other breed you'd like, live with the dogs, breed some litters under good mentorship, see for yourself if they're unhealthy, and learn about structure. THEN come back and criticize how they're bred.

    The straight Chow rear has absolutely nothing to do with hip dysplasia. I don't know where you are getting the idea that stifle angle affects femoral or acetabular development but that's not the case. Hip dysplasia is a developmental disease that's far more related to the heaviness of the dog and its rate of growth than anything else; light, tall dogs have very low rates and heavy dogs have higher rates. Dogs with overangulated rears and underangulated rears all get dysplasia if they're heavy and grow fast.

    The straight rear of the Chow is NOT something developed to win shows. As a matter of fact it hurts them in the ring – very few Chows are big group or BIS winners because they have such different movement and the dogs with more angulation appeal to the all-rounders that typically judge Groups. It's been a feature of the breed at least since the turn of the last century.

    Pekes CAN breathe, and they can do obedience and agility and run like crazy and they live to be ridiculously elderly. That's why I would cordially once more invite you to actually LIVE with a few before you comment on how terrible their lives must be. The ideal has always been an extremely short face; their standard is ancient and called for a tremendous amount of exaggeration. A few exist in taxidermy and are extremely brachycephalic, and the early photographs show virtually no muzzle. If you don't LIKE the breed, that's absolutely fine. If you think they shouldn't exist, period, I can even respect that, though I disagree because I HAVE spent a lot of time with them and they're hilarious, snobby, loud, happy, zippy little dogs. It's saying that show Pekes changed recently that is completely unsupportable by fact.

  10. The cancer study he's referencing is a very small one that polled dogs in northern Italy. The HUGE proportion of tumors found were mammary tumors, which OF COURSE are going to be more common in purebreds because purebreds are (in that culture) rarely spayed or neutered. I've talked with many Italian breeders and owners, even used an Italian import stud dog from the Venice area, and expectations there are very different.

    Involved purebred owners and breeders also test up the wazoo. They are rarely satisfied with "The dog got sick and it died." Plenty of mixed-breed owners are also concerned, of course, but when you compare the two large groups there is very definitely a difference in reporting and testing, and that leads to a difference in data.

    It's absolutely true that in some breeds there is a higher incidence of cancer than in the general population of dogs. In others there is a much lower one. It has less to do with "being purebred" than with what genes have been lost or concentrated. If you closed a group of fifty mixed-breed dogs right now, in 25 years there'd be a higher incidence of certain diseases in it and a lower incidence of others. Nobody in the show community is in denial about this situation; they are the ones funding the vast majority of the research and desperately looking for genetic markers and therapies. Breed clubs can and do apply to do crossbreedings with other breeds if they believe that will do any good; the Basenji club studbook is open right now to try to work on Fanconi and the Saluki and a few other clubs are perpetually open to desert-bred dogs. Sussex Spaniels were bred with Clumbers. It can and does happen.

    However, crossbreeding is rarely a simple solution. Goldens have a tragically high incidence of hemangiosarcoma, which everybody hates, but where do they go? Flatcoats have an even higher incident (showing that the disease is old and was part of the founding population of both breeds). What breed do they use to fix it? If you can come up with a real plan, I know some wonderful Golden people and I'll talk to them. But it's not easy, and armchair quarterbacking is unfair when you're not involved in the breeds.

  11. You fix it by breeding Labradors or Irish setters, which are relatives. Many Irish setters will retrieve like crazy.

    Crossbreeding can work.

    The real reason why these dogs have such bad cancer rates is inbreeding.

    Some of the first goldens brought to North America lived 15 or more years– in the 1930's, when most dogs didn't live that long anway.

    BTW, most golden people are, with all due respect, fatuous airheads.

    Maybe we should ban dog shows instead of hunting with hounds.

  12. "Being purebred" pretty much guarantees that genes WILL be lost or concentrated. The ONLY way to fix that is to end "being purebred," and changing the definition of what purebred means. Why have the cat people and the livestock people figured this out but the dog people have their hands over their ears going lalalala? I have in my yard right now four bitches that are indistinguishable from purebreds. They are one quarter another breed. Breed them back to their majority breed and I guarantee you will not be able to tell there was ever a cross-breeding. But that's not all. Those bitches will have nice, healthy, heterozygous major histocompatibility complexes. That won't keep them from getting cancer, heart, or autoimmune disease, but it's a damn sight more helpful to them than a homozygous MHC, and going "wah, wah, wah, but those other breeds all have cancer tooooo, what are we going to doooooo." Cross-breeding, at the VERY least, would allow for more heterozygous MHC in dogs, which can only work for their advantage.

    Breed clubs can apply to do cross-breedings? BWHaHaHaHaHaHaHa! Does "low uric acid Dalmatians" ring a bell for you? Do you have any idea how much fast talking had to be done to get SPDBS going? I have a very rare breed that's in akc FSS, and I have seen breed politics attempt to cut out a large proportion of new country of origin blood. Breed clubs can easily be the dogs worst enemy, right up there with the closed registry system. Don't look to them to save the dogs.

  13. Jess said:"I have seen breed politics attempt to cut out a large proportion of new country of origin blood."

    Like mine for instance? 😉

    SPDBS as you know isn't any more than a vehicle for those who currently "own" it.

  14. You can't take Goldens back to Irish Setters unless you want old-age cancers on top of the hemangiosarcoma. Irish Setters have a higher rate of cancers in the 12+ age. So that breed, and the other big setters (who have similar issues), is out. Going to Labs doesn't make any more sense than going to Chessies (who would bring too much DM in anyway); the type and style of workmanship is too different.

    See how this goes? Every breed has its issues. Breeders spend a lifetime trying to understand the pedigrees and get away from the major health problems, and they know that crossbreeding is not a magic bullet.

    Yes, I am very aware of the LUA Dal issue, and as you know the problem there is not that the AKC refused the breed club. It's that the breed club in the end decided not to go ahead with the program. It's still very much in flux and things could change; it's up to the club, not the registry. The point is still the same; AKC can and will open the stud book if the breed asks for it. AKC also refuses to close stud books in FSS breeds before there is a breeding population of thousands.

    And, yes, we're aware of histocompatibility issues. The Keeshond club, the Bulldog club, the Great Dane club, the PBGV club, the Beardie club, and the list goes on and on, are all funding research into histocompatibility testing with the goal of DNA analysis and better breeding strategies.

    Scottie, I've said it before and I'll say it again, you need to actually work some dogs and breed some dogs before you talk about what idiots Golden breeders are. It's absolutely no fair to post this kind of stuff when you've never even been to a field trial or a Golden Nationals or – correct me if I'm wrong – a dog show of any kind. It's incredibly easy to criticize when you don't have to look the people in the eye or have any contact or experience with their dogs. The GRCA WC/WCX trials are next weekend in OH – GO! Drive for a day, sit next to them, pet their muddy dogs who just earned working titles, and tell them that they're fatuous airheads. Go to the specialty itself – they're doing a DNA drive and seminars on PRA, plus you get to actually see some show-bred Goldens (puppies to geriatric) and talk to breeders about how nonfunctional they are. If you can't say it to their face, you shouldn't be saying it online.

  15. Steve, not just yours. I have azawakh, half-desert bred, that would not be able to be registered if there was only one breed club. and that's an FSS breed, where the stud book is NOT supposed to be closed.

    Really, I am going to dual register one of my akc Salukis just so I can breed my UKC Tazi to one and register the pups. Just to yank some chains. Of course, I am one of those evil cross-breeders, so it might not make an impression. I am Officially Unapproved Of. an scoa member said so. My heart, it breaks.

    NO ONE IS SAYING THAT CROSS-BREEDING IS A MAGIC BULLET. I see that argument all the time. It falls into the 'wah wah wah' category. We know that closed registries are not healthy. Why would the Basenji club open their registry, and the SPDBS effectively but not efficiently open the stud book for Salukis if they thought it wouldn't do any good? It's a crap shoot either way. all the breed club funded studies in the world are not going to change that. Instead of farting around, paying lip service to an outdated system that is bad for dogs, the breed clubs could be doing something constructive RIGHT NOW by coming up with a cross-breeding plan. The Chinook people did it. There is NO evidence that cross-breeding will be just as bad as a closed registry, if done intelligently. None. Otherwise, the Basenji people wouldn't be opening their stud book again, and SPDBS would have been defunct years ago. all the wah wah wah in the world is not going to negate the science and say it's perfectly okay for registries to be closed.

    "The point is still the same; AKC can and will open the stud book if the breed asks for it."

    Which is no point at all! If anything, the Dalmatian stupidity should show akc that the breed clubs cannot be trusted to do what's best for the breed, instead of succumbing to politicking and 'tradition!' akc needs to grow some balls.

    "And, yes, we're aware of histocompatibility issues. The Keeshond club, the Bulldog club, the Great Dane club, the PBGV club, the Beardie club, and the list goes on and on, are all funding research into histocompatibility testing with the goal of DNA analysis and better breeding strategies."

    Really? Working hard, are they? There is a university in Finland who will sequence your dogs genes for free. You just have to send the blood there. They doing a big study. If you contribute blood, they'll run your dog's MHC sequence for free. Otherwise, they charge a fee. as I get farther along in my cross-breeding program, I'm going to be sending blood to them from my own dogs. I've a breeder friend who's had all her dogs done, and found some interesting things.

    "Going to Labs doesn't make any more sense than going to Chessies (who would bring too much DM in anyway); the type and style of workmanship is too different."

    See, that's where intelligent cross-breeding comes in. You've heard of the Boxer/Corgi crosses? Backcrossing? Really, I'm beginning to believe that the closed studbook brigade actually believes that most people are too bloody stupid to breed intelligently, if they think a single out-cross is going to result in a huge disaster and change the dogs forever. If all of these breeders cannot be trusted to cross intelligently, how that be trusted to breed intelligently at all?

  16. I choose to be an outsider, precisely because I've had those discussions you think are so precious, the ones about structure and function and preservation. You must run with a different crowd because I've been rather stunned over the years by the vast amount of ignorant crap that seems to be standing in for intelligent discussion. Even more disappointing are the breeders who pay lip service to function but continue to breed slow, gigantic, over-angulated hair beasts. I've been in the conformation ring myself. There are dogs in my yard that have parents that are conformation champions. I placed a puppy in a show home a few weeks ago. Two of my dogs will eventually go back to their breeders to be shown. So you can't I'm sitting outside the system flinging stones. I must keep a very different type of company because very few of the 'show' breeders I am close to sing the praises of the closed registry system and the conformation show system. They work within those systems because they have to, to keep their dogs in the gene pool, and because it's beyond their comfort level to just go rogue.

    I really hope the dogs can survive until more breeders start bucking the system. Because the excuse-makers, the politicking control freaks, they're the ones running the show, and they could give a crap about the long term survivability of the dogs.

  17. Sorry, was playing with my dogs all weekend and waiting for a bitch to go into heat and missed the comments.

    I am very aware of the boxer/corgi crosses, which were done with the goal of shortening tails and nothing else. I am not aware that longevity data is even being kept; it's all about the tails. Since I personally think docking is ridiculous anyway, I'm not going to cheer about a program that focuses solely on a superficial trait.

    There's evidently some confusion about what opening the stud book means to different people. There's the single or very, very short windows, such as the LUA dalmatians or the Sussex/Clumber crosses and a few others. Those short-term crosses can make progress in very narrow and specific disorders and circumstances; they won't really do anything to solve the issues associated with high COIs. In fact, since there is quite a bit of off-the-books crossbreeding that takes place and the dogs still end up in the stud book, single crosses have been taking place at a relatively regular pace since forever. Breed clubs and AKC are open to these crosses and there's very little need to rail about how they're now allowed. We absolutely do not believe that a single outcross is going to be disaster for a breed, but you'd be totally incorrect to think that it would make any difference in the health picture of the breed as a whole.

    What a lot of people seem to be advocating is a permanent system of allowed crossbreeding. I'm fine with that in sporthorses, where it's no tragedy that a breed ends up 90% TB as long as they can still jump.

    Dog breeds, unlike horses or cows or goats or sheep, are incredibly divergent, and they have jobs that are very finely honed.

    The difference between the primitive sighthounds may be so slight that crossbreeding still produces the same thing; I think that's the case in plenty of the LGDs as well. The ongoing controversy about the wire-haired pointing breeds and their continual crossbreeding (both on and off the books) would imply that those breedings leave the instinct pretty well intact.

    Where you are going to get into bigger trouble is when you try to meet the "production standard" of the breeds that have become further apart on the dog tree. Cardigans are not supposed to herd with eye. They represent a very, very old personal, close-range herding style that was abandoned long ago in favor of the strong-eyed dogs who could move larger flocks longer distances. I think the Cardi herding style and size and leg length is worth keeping, intact, and am not terribly interested in either bringing in the spitz-influenced habits of the Pems or the strong eye of the long-legged herders. I'm also not very interested in bringing in the poor health of other breeds; Cardis have been isolated for centuries if not longer and they have very few congenital issues.

    I do find it both ironic and a little insulting that it's assumed that show breeders are somehow stupid or that we haven't thought about what's been brought up. Are there some total jerks in the show world? Of course, though I think there are some idiots in the working-dog world too. The ideas of function, preserving instinct, genetic isolation, congenital disease, etc. are breeding 101 and those of us with any kind of mentorship had it beaten into us before we were allowed to take home our first puppy. The fact that I make sure my dogs can herd before I breed them, or that they have healthy eyes and spine, wasn't my idea; it's part of the conventional wisdom and expected behavior of the club.

    I've also never heard a single show breeder say that breeds shouldn't work. NEVER. Most of us harp on the necessity of working them until we're blue in the face. There is really NOT a great divide between "us" and "them" in our minds, although it sure seems like there is in many of yours.

  18. Wow! I was off(and nowhere near any computers) for 3 days, but I had a notion this subject would get lots more comments!:) This is a GOOD thing, as open discussions CAN lead to learning. Maybe…. Joanna, I am also not just flinging stones from the sidelines–I have been involved in many aspects of dogs(except actual breeding), and been to many an AKC conformation dog show, as well as being out in the field with many types of dogs, AKC, UKC, and unregistered, including mongrels of the most mixed-up kind–AND dare I say, quite a bit of experience with wolves and wolf-hybrids. So I have a wide range of types and experiences to compare. AKC breeds DO do work, but when compared with other working types(of the same breed or type), THEY CANNOT COMPETE–this goes for sled dogs, hunting dogs, and herding dogs. There are certainlty exceptions to this rule, but that's just it, they are EXCEPTIONS! AKC trials are only open to AKC registered dogs–this is the only way AKC registered dogs ever win a trial! And it keeps AKC oriented people from seeing the VAST difference in performance! AKC oriented people blather about conformation and "form follows function" and all manner of lofty sounding platitudes, but when it comes right down to it, all that theorizing, poking and prodding, and book learning on structure and shape, DOES NOT produce better dogs! If you do not know this, then YOU are the one who is uneducated of an entirely separate dog world that exists–I am not suprised, as I have rarely met an AKC conformation dog person who has been to a coonhound or foxhound or squirrel dog hunt trial, or even knew such things existed, with breeds older in this country by far than many AKC breeds. There is an entire world of dogs that the AKC people are extremely ignorant about–some of it is snobbishness too, no doubt, as the attitude with many AKC people is that if it is not AKC registerable, then it is not worthy of attention–this is what alienates so many other "working" dog people. TALKING about working is great, but it does not take the place of actually doing it, and, most importantly, putting it FIRST in importance for breeding and testing. All the talk and well-intentioned if half-hearted efforts will do no good if the ribbons and prestige are still going for mainly exagerrated conformation. This is what needs to change in order to produce more functional healthier dogs……L.B.

  19. Show breeders are often very ignorant about the dog as an organism. They are often filled with what passes for knowledge in the fancy– all sorts esoteric myths and fancy points that normal people certainly wouldn't think of.

    In that respect, they are like Isaiah Berlin's foxes. They know lots of things.

    But sometimes foxes miss out on truths that us mere hedgehogs (and I consider myself a hedgehog, though I have been called a fox) miss.

    And this is a very good example.

  20. …And now in regards to some of the specific breeds you mentioned, Joanna–BASENJIS! I LOVE BASENJIS! I have some experience with these guys, and the Basenji breed club, when it opened its stud book and mounted expeditions to Africa to bring in more new blood, was one of the most sensible and effective things any AKC breed club has ever done! If only MORE would think like that! Basenjis have never been exagerrated all out of proportion to the original dogs in conformation, and I think this has a lot to do with why they are still quite functional. But alas, this is NOT the case with most AKC breeds, despite all the verbal platitudes. As for Salukis being open to "desert-bred" breeding–not that I'm aware of!(I also have been involved with Salukis–desert-bred specifically). I had a half desert-bred/half AKC saluki some years ago, and attended several Saluki Specialties(at the wonderful Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky), and yes, there was a desert-bred contingent, but despite their efforts, they are treated by the majority of AKC show people like some sort of pariahs, and their influence, sadly, is minimal at best. I personally was treated more rudely and snobbishly by the majority of people I met(I DID meet some really interesting, wonderful people too, though) than any dog show I have attended–UNTIL a visiting Arab sheik offered over $7000.00 for my dog, and SUDDENLY everyone took great notice of us, and treated us quite like celebrities! I did not sell my dog, by the way….This is what a lot of dog showing is–deference and worship of celebrity and political influence–NOT breeding better dogs! As for my own malamutes, when they were younger, I was told "their type" was "shown" in conformation shows, which is NOT what I wanted, but alas, is what I ended up with(hard to tell when they are just 6 week old pups–the dam was as perfect a working-type malamute as you could find, but of course the pups turned out nothing like her!). They had great attitude, and the boys have been great, faithful pets and companions, and I would never get rid of them, but thet were USELESS as working dogs! They couldn't run a mile without breaking down! And had to be retired by 5 years old–could not even keep up with me on a hike in the woods, even as young dogs! Yet they could have won ribbons in an AKC show! No, I don't live in Alaska and haul heavy freight for many miles, but neither do many AKC conformation people. I HAVE learned more in five minutes on the back of a sled(or cart) than anyone I know who has been trotting show dogs around a ring for a decade! There ARE a very few people that run sled breeds who also show them, but the percentage is very low, and the breeds would benefit greatly if this influence was a lot higher……L.B.

  21. …..I think one of the biggest obstacles preventing different dog camps from getting together are social hierarchies–the REAL working dog people are often farmers, backwoods hunters, and other rural types, and they have little interest in "fancy" citified dogshows, just as most urban/suburban dog show people have no desire to run around over field and forest with a bunch of dogs, much less socialize with the class of people that do! But I can tell you, I have learned more listening to an old Appalachian bear hunter about his hounds' structure, or a farmer about his herding dog that brings the cows home(unassisted), than I ever have from conformation show dog people that simply parrot each other often with no real working experiences(other than with their AKC dogs). Some of the basic things dog show people lecture on and penalize for, like "high in the rear" or "cow-hocked" I have found from experience have no ill effect on actual movement–in fact, quite the opposite! Every wolf I have ever seen was a bit cow-hocked and slightly high in the rear, and I have yet to see a wolf that could not but move effortlessly and beautifully. Same for scads of animals–deer, antelope, cheetahs, all animals known for their excellence and speed are a bit cow-hocked and high in the rear when you look closely at them–I suppose they would be penalized in a conformation show for this! One big problem with the whole dog conformation ideal, is that early show people based a lot of their ideas on HORSE conformation, where being cow-hocked and high in the rear were considered faults. But after all these years, with examples of real functining animals all around them(including working dogs) that have these "faults" that affect performance not in the least, conformation dog show people just haven't gotten it!……L.B.

  22. L.B. is exactly right.

    The first person to actually base dog gait and structure off of horse conformation was in golden retrievers.

    Rachel Page Elliott first gave this sort of analysis for golden retrievers. She was also invited to do this research for all sorts of other breeds: http://www.grca.org/history_breed/pagey.html

    Some of what she said about goldens is valid, but there is a tendency to overdo the breed as show dog– load it up with coat and bone.

    As far as I'm concerned Gervais Markham described the perfect conformation for a working water dog in 1621 in his Hunger's Prevention:

    "His neck would be thick and short, his breast like the breast of a ship, sharp and compact; his shoulders broad, his fore legs straight, his chine [spine] square, his buttocks round, his rigs compassed [curved], his belly gaunt, his thighs brawny, his cambrels [hocks] crooked, his pasterns strong and dew clawed, and all his four feet spacious [webbed] to the claw, like a water duck, for they being his oars to row him in the water, having that shape, will carry his body away the faster. And thus you have the true description of a perfect water dog, as you may see following."

  23. Another breed that based it's standard on horse conformation was the fox terrier–when ability to "go to ground" takes a backseat to something as superficial as looking and moving like a little horse, it is easy to see how original function can be lost. There are SO MANY AKC breeds that have diverged into two types–show vs. work, that it is sad. Show English setters vs. real hunting English setters–they don't even look like the same breed any more! Ditto for Irish setters, Labs, Black-And-Tan coonhounds, Siberian Huskies, and Greyhounds. GREYHOUNDS! The very living epitomy of running function in dogs, but AKC Greyhounds cannot begin to compete with the racing lines, or people that hunt with unregistered "cold bloods"! Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are fast diverging into "show stock" and true working types, now that both are recognized by the AKC, and are popular breeds(popularity in the show ring often has a lot to do with how quickly breeds diverge from working stock). The list goes on and on, and no one serious about function ever gets AKC bred dogs if they can help it–IF they know what they are doing…..L.B.

  24. If people want to breed dogs that are mostly mild mannered pets and/or show dogs, I see nothing wrong with that,(as long as health and temperment are emphasized, which alas, often are not at this point, but perhaps attitudes are changing there…), but show people need to get better educated THEMSELVES, and quit putting their knowledge(which is limited to shows, limp AKC trials, and often made-up and unrealistically romanticized breed histories) on pedestals, and wake up and realize there are WHOLE WORLDS concerning dogs out there that they are completely out of touch with! That said, a little about how AMAZING it is that some characteristics can be preserved DESPITE no breeding for it(which can be a beacon of hope that all is not lost!). Today at the zoo where I work, a bunch of us had to help move a nearly 1000 lb. tranquilized Polar Bear for his annual physical–a task that requires quite a few people you might imagine! It brought to mind the last time I had to help do this–when I went home that night, all of my many variety of dogs were VERY interested in the scent on my clothes, but the Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes went NUTS! Dramatically more affected than the other dogs–woofing and clawing at me obsessively! Now, these are Nordic dogs long, long separated by many, many generations from any ancestor that had to deal with actual Polar Bears, but yet this "racial memory" survives! Fascinating!….L.B.

  25. Yanno – I've been reading this thread for some time now, and I agree with some of what's been said, and I disagree with some of what's been said, BUT, I do know one thing and I will share that information with all of you – whether you own working dogs and disdain AKC dogs, or you own AKC dogs and disdain those who hunt with their hounds and herd with their collies …

    The level of acrimony, and arrogance and sanctimonious self-righteous drivel I hear here is exactly what the Animal Rights fruit cakes thrill to have going on amongst those of us who fancy, or breed or use any flavor of dog — as long as there are those of you who are going to be judge, jury and hangman about what another man or woman does with their animals, for that length of time we get that much closer to Wayne Pacelle's dream of the extinction of domesticated breeds of animals of any type.

    Some of us own dogs for one reason, and others own dogs for different reasons, but if we don't all get together and decide that each of us has the right to own a dog for *whatever reason* it isn't going to be much longer until no one owns a dog, or a cat, or a bird, or a sheep or a cow, etc.

    Wake up friends, as they say in one of those far flung backward lands where some of my black dogs have relatives — "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

    Snap out of it – you have no more right to own a "working dog," than does an AKC fancier have the right to own a "show dog." And you may have the same right for only so long as the AKC fancier enjoys the same privilege.

    Never forget that.

  26. Well, I wish I could just agree and shake hands and be happy to just let everyone "do their own thing", but that would imply that the basic premises of the conformation dog show world were okay, but I don't think they are, alas. In the anti-hunting attacks, it is often said that ALL hunters have to bond together to prevent its being outlawed by the antis, but I also think that is very wrong–I would NEVER support canned hunts of any kind(which I do not consider "hunting" anyway) or slob hunters who abuse the privelege–not speaking out against them and distancing onesself from that element is way more detrimental, I think. I have spent many years listening to pompous, inaccurate, and class-oriented dog show drivel, and seen one breed after another ruined for any practical function IN MY LIFETIME, by the prepostorous notion that trying to inbreed dogs to fit someone's written idea of what a "perfect" dog is(regarding mainly JUST conformation, and conformation so exagerrated it doesn't even function properly anymore) is simply WRONG, morally and otherwise, and people need to wake up, recognize this(and the cruelty of breeding dogs with serious congenital problems, like Old English Bulldogs, and the wretched GSD's of today, etc. etc. etc.) and CHANGE the status quo to reflect this concern. Only pressure from the outside of the fancy is likely to instigate this, and it by nature must be critical, alas. Allowing these abuses to continue without criticism only gives the antis more ammo to use against those of us that wish to continue the close association of humans and animals….L.B.

  27. ….And saying the conformation show world is aware of the problem, and doing "research", and are as concerned as anyone is ridiculous! If they are so concerned, WHY do they continue rewarding deformed, exagerrated dogs with the top prizes? How is that going to change anything? Nothing will change until the criticisms embarrass the dog fancy into changing–that is FINALLY beginning to happen now, as more and more people, who REALLY know about what they are speaking about(regarding dog health and function) speak out and INSIST that the myth of conformation dog showing improving and preserving breeds is just that, a myth!….L.B.

  28. LB – please describe to us your association with the world of confirmation show dogs, and rather than speaking in generalities such as "one breed after another ruined" lets get down to specificis.

    What is your definition of "inbreeding," what are the dogs/breeds/names of individuals with genetic defects who keep winning the top prizes?

    I'm not defending or accusing anyone, but I find it very difficult to give credibility to your (or anyone else's arguments" until I know specificially what or who or which you're talking about?

    I comment on this list anonymously, so if you don't care to continue this discussion with me on this basis I understand.

    But I will close by saying that I've spent a lifetime of close association with many different facets of the "dog/horse/hunting" sports and I've not seen anything that reaches the proportion of misuse that you're discussing.

    Class-conscious dog show world is a very apt way to describe some the folks who participate in the fancy … I'd never argue that, but I do assume that for the sake of fairness, you're not letting that obvious bias color your comments on the entire fancy.

  29. L.B. here again–no, anonymous, I have no problems discussing anything with an actual "anonymous" participant. there are all manner of legitimete reasons to remain anonymous–you could be an Alien studying our culture, and not want to cause distractions to the subject at hand by attracting all those pesky paranormal investigators, or some such.:) And you are also quite right to want some sort of background on those of us in this discussion for accurate perspective's sake–my only difficulty with that is trying to compress it to some reasonable brevity! I'll do my best to try and be brief….I am only a few months shy of being 50 yrs. old, and have spent my entire life completely involved and studying and raising and training dogs. I grew up in a family and sub-culture where actual working dogs(hunting) helped put food on the table–especially during the Great Depression on my ma's side of the family. I grew up fascinated with the whole purebred dog world, and attended many conformation dog shows, and actually wanted to eventually show dogs myself, but gradually lost interest because I found them incredibly boring, full of people spouting inaccuracies–which irked me no end(and still does, obviously!), and the fact that was blatantly obvious to anyone who opened their eyes and thought for themselves(and has become MORE obvious as the years have gone by, and one breed after another becomes less and less healthy and less functional), instead of blindly following the program and parroting what they were told by dog show peers. I have had friends who DID show, and many became disillusioned and eventually dropped out, and voiced their reasons to me(which I agreed with). And it became blatantly obvious to me that this process of breeding for conformation champions DID NOT produce superior dogs(as it is constantly ballyhooed as doing), and that the shows were much more about human politics and class and celebrity than they were about dogs–dogs being some sort of bizarre accessory and excuse for the human interaction–which is all very interesting(I majored in Anthropology in college–the study of humans!) but doesn't have a thing to do with actual, functional, animal husbandry! This is the great irony of conformation dog shows! And I would like to reiterate that I do not think this is WRONG, and if people enjoy doing it that's their right and business, BUT, they need to wake up and realize the TRUTH that they ARE NOT producing better, healthier or more functional dogs, nor are they "preserving" breeds when they CHANGE and exagerrate breeds all out of proportion of what they originally were, to the point where they cannot even perform their original tasks well or at all, and they diverge so much from working stock lines of the same breed that they are split into two different factions, sometimes no longer even resembling each other. This is certainly not the case with all the breeds shown in conformation, but there is an definete trend(often depending on the popularity of the breed) for this to happen which is obvious to anyone that dares to open their eyes. Therefore, in my opinion(and MANY others'), this inaccuracy needs to be exposed. And now for more specific examples and definitions which you asked for….To be continued…L.B.

  30. L.B. again….One question you had, Anon(may I call you that?), is what my definition of "inbreeding" was? My definition of inbreeding is the ONLY definition of inbreeding–breeding closely related individuals to each other! Family trees that don't fork much! You can give it a more politically correct term and call it "line-breeding", but it is still the same thing. And it is very necessary to do to "fix" certain predictable, uniform characteristics, and has been done since animals were domesticated. If done carefully, and not too much, it can be a valuable breeding tool, but, in my opinion, it is done WAY too much, and not carefully or sensibly with many purebred dogs–especially when the main goal is to breed for a certain set of physical characteristics(often increasingly exagerrated)to achieve a certain "look" to fit a human written(and therefore very likely–yea, OFTEN– flawed) "standard" of what SOME people decided was the "perfect" example of that breed(and heaven help you if you want to change anything on that "Standard"). More and more and more intensive inbreeding to try and squeeze ALL individuals in that breed to try and fit this one, tiny, narrow, "ideal" conjured up by humans interested only in winning ribbons and trophies with this process. When put in that perspective, how can you NOT see the detrimental effect of conformation dog show breeding? NO ONE breeding for healthy, long-lived animals does this–many domestic animals who are raised to live short lives and are eaten are bred this way, but I think even this becomes unethical at some point(I mean, some of the modern strains of cows, pigs, and chickens are PATHETIC!), and definetely has NO PLACE in breeding a companion animal like a dog. I am a Zookeeper, too, and inbreeding is avoided if AT ALL POSSIBLE when breeding endangered species and maintaining other zoo populations of animals. When wild populations of animals get so endangered that they are inbreeding with each other, one of the first things conservationists try to do is introduce unrelated outcross animals to the population to save it, otherwise it is very likely doomed. This is almost the direct opposite of what a lot of dog show people do! Instead, everyone wants to try(IF they can afford it) to breed with the show winning champions, of which there can only be a select few at any given time, and over time this pool gets narrower and narrower, and not suprisingly, more and more congenital defects arise, which any elementary student of proper animal husbandry could predict. On top of this, when you are not even breeding for actual function, which would weed out quite a bit of unhealthiness in a breed, the problem is compounded. Conformation dog show people have only been breeding dogs this way for a bit over a century, so might be excused for not knowing better; for trying something different. But, IT AIN'T WORKIN'! This needs to, at long last, be ACKNOWLEDGED, and SOMETHING needs to change!….L.B….to be continued….

  31. Alas, alack, Anon(L.B. here again), as for specific examples as to how dog show conformation "rewards" increasingly degenerate individuals–all you have to do is go to a dog show of this nature, and see who wins the prizes, to see they tend to go to the most blatantly exagerrated specimens! The wretched GSD's with the most sloping hindquarters and bent rear legs, the Pointers with the most dished faces, the Greyhounds with the most roached backs, the Shar pei's with the most wrinkles, the Basset Hounds with the longest ears–the list goes on and on! What could be more obvious than the WINNER, OVER ALL DOGS, of the English Kennel Club's conformation show THIS YEAR–the wretched Pekingnese that had to be carried around and displayed on a pillow, because he couldn't breathe properly and overheated with the slightest exertion! THIS DOG WON THE ENTIRE COMPETITION! Incredible! If you cannot see that conformation showing IS NOT producing better dogs, but rewards dogs that can't even function normally, then you are indeed blind!…..L.B….to be continued……

  32. ….And as for specific breeds changed(and ruined, in my opinion) by conformation showing–gosh, where do I begin! There are SO MANY! Some are definetely worse than others, some have hope if a different attitude is developed, and there are a very few(like the Basenji people) that seem to get it, and are doing something(outcrossing) that REALLY works. GSD's(German Shepherds) are probably one of the worst, and unless some serious outcrossing and changes in their STUPID Standard do not arise soon, I could see this once magnificent, formerly extremely versatile and athletic breed becoming extinct, because it can't even WALK anymore! But we've harped on them plenty already(and "recognizing" the problem ain't going to improve things, you got to DO something!), and the lovable but wretched English Bulldogs get plenty of attention too–can't breathe properly, can't even breed or birth properly anymore, etc. etc.). Another popular breed I've seen DESTROYED(in my opinion) is the once sweet, obedient, athletic and functional, with easy-to-care-for practical coats, and former bird dogs, the American Cocker Spaniel. When I was growing up, these little guys were EVERYWHERE, and were lively, fun, practical family dogs–way too popular for their own good, alas. They became popular, too, with the show conformation people, and this marked their doom(again, in my opinion). The show people bred for more profuse, flashier coats, and cockers have now become a breed that MUST have extensive grooming, and is completely impractical in the field(catching every burr and briar and matting something awful)–many people no longer realize that cockers DID NOT originally have such coats–I am old enough to know better. Worse is the sad change in temperment–from merry, happy, extremely gentle dogs, they have been transformed(by the breeding focusing on conformation and coat rather than temperment or hunting ability and handling) into snappy, snotty, deranged little mops–I have seen cockers wiggling with seeming happiness one minute, go for somebody's face the next(yes, in an aggressive attempt to bite them!)–a particularly nasty thing for a dog to do, and without justifiable provocation–more times than I care to remember. I have worked at a Vetinary hospital that also boarded dogs, a Boarding Kennel that did lots of grooming, and a pet shop, and I saw LOTS of cockers over the years. From being one of THE most popular pet breeds, their popularity has plummeted, and I have spoken with lots of groomers and vets over the years that have to deal with them that concur. I hear there IS a group trying to "restore" the original concept of the dog–with more practical coats and even hunting ability again–I wish them the best of luck. But you can BET they avoid conformation show lines of cockers like the plague!…L.B….to be continued, and yes, I can go on and on and on and on and on in this fashion(much is the pity)……

  33. …Unfortunetely for Cockers, as their transformation to the worst began to occur, there was not a "working line" with the general public(as there is with some breeds) that preserved the good temperment and PRACTICAL physical conformation and coat, so because of the show domination and influence on this breed, everyone began thinking that the show cockers is what cockers were SUPPOSED to look like, and it didn't take long for that transformation to take over. People just following the example of others rather than thinking it through, which purty much describes the majority of conformation dog show people that I'VE known. Another example(had enough yet?) of a breed dear to me(as you know if you follow this blog) is the American Black-And-Tan Coonhound, a scenthound breed that, thank goodness, has a UKC working line to counteract the AKC conformation show line. NO ONE that hunts seriously with this breed, and enters real hunting competitions, gets AKC dogs! Most AKC Black-And-Tans are klunky, oversized, with ridiculously exagerrated ears that serve no purpose except to get in the way of actual hunting, and very often little or no treeing instinct–useless for coonhunting. One of the omissions in the sacred STANDARD of the AKC dogs, is that there is no penalty for upper limit on size–a very strange and stupid omission to anyone that actually hunts with these dogs! It is even bandyhooed about among the AKC Black-And-Tan people that larger than standard dogs are acceptable "as long as they can still perform their function as hunters"!!!! Obviously written by people sitting around a show ring that couldn't possibly hunt with their dogs! While they focus on breeding for things like making sure the ear length extends past the nose(which serves NO PURPOSE except to get in the way!), they need to at least visit an actual hunt with UKC or other coonhounds, or maybe just READ something about it to realize that their rewarding of large, klunky, oversized dogs(which apparently LOOK more impressive in the show ring to people that have no clue) CANNOT run and function properly in the field–they overheat quickly, and have no stamina–AND if hunting large, dangerous game with them(as many real hunters do with this breed, and always have–"Coonhound" being something of a limiting and inaccurate breed name)–like cougars, bears, and wild pigs, any dogs much over 75lbs. simply don't live long, as they are too clumsy and not quick enough to hold such dangerous game at bay, and dodge out of the way fast enough as is always necessary when such game gets irked!. ANYONE who hunts knows this, and there is plenty of literature to read about this if you are not an actual hunter yourself. But apparently the dog conformation show people are not aware of this basic FACT about this breed, "experts" though they like to label themselves, breeding "superior" dogs!("Superior" for WHAT?) So the isolated AKC Black-And-Tans get more and more isolated, get more and more inbred to concentrate on stupid physical trivialities like long ears, more wrinkles, and oversized bodies, and of course have a much higher rate of congenital defects as a result, than the extremely populous and functional and unexagerrated UKC dogs actually bred to HUNT–thank goodness for them! Even if I was only interested in a PET, I would be wise to choose from WORKING STOCK breeds of dogs, for better temperment and health, as poor temperment and health are not tolerated in working lines…..L.B….Do I need to go on? I can, ALL DAY, ALL WEEK, ALL MONTH……

  34. ….Although it might be the best thing in centuries to happen to dogs if Conformation Shows went extinct, I DO want to reiterate AGAIN that I am not hoping for this to happen. If people love their dog shows and exhibitions–great. MY HOPE is that it will change to concentrate on breeding(with lots and lots of outcrossing, and "linebreeding" is viewed and understood to be as unhealthy as smoking!) HEALTHY purebreds with super temperments, and UNEXAGERRATED physiques, and physical contests and temperment contests MUST be passed BEFORE one can even enter a dog in a conformation show! Where AKC breeders take as much pride in their diversified outcrosses(with seperate judging categories for them to be fair) as they do their inbred purebreds now. Where puppy mills are no longer allowed to register puppies with the AKC. Where wealthy dog show-ers pay handlers to win field trials rather than conformation shows, and where conformation becomes the LAST thing of importance in breeding dogs. I have nothing against a love for aesthetics–I wallow in what I consider a good-looking dog as much as any conformation show-er–it's just that, with REAL FUNCTION AND ABILITY in my mind, my idea of beauty tends to be a lot different than those trying to squeeze genetics to fit one, narrow, robotic ideal. The ideals of beauty need to be broader, and the Standards need to be more flexible, and people need to really THINK about it, and get as big a perspective on dogs as possible(in other words, not just the AKC perspective), and come to the realization that cherished notions about conformation breeding are simply WRONG, and be brave enough and open-minded enough to change them as necessary! I would LOVE to live long enough to see AKC dogs whoopin' tha pants off'n UKC dogs in field trials! But I'm probably hoping for too much there; that will likely take another coupla centuries!…..L.B.

  35. RE: "the wretched pekingese which won this year's English Kennel Club Show" – if you are referring to the Crufts show held in the UK, it has been several years since a peke won best in show at that event … I believe that a Sealyham Terrier from the US was BIS this – I've seen that dog in person many times, and had the privilege of going over her, and she is a lovely, sound, typey specimen.

    I believe that the "wretched peke" to which you referred won five or six years ago – and again, while I've not been favored with a hands on examination of that particular animal, I have seen and touched specimens from that Kennel here in the US … they all seem to me to be what Pekes are intended to be in the land (actually summer palace) of origin, and I've been amazed by the stamina and heart these little dogs have … my cousin has owned Peke for most of my nearly 70 years and the one characteristic they all have is an inability to realize how small they are … the "Little Lion Dogs" had the heart of the Lion, that is for sure.

    A lengthy quote from a recent work on the origins of breed standards reveals that the Dowager Empress of China wrote the standard for the pekes of the summer palace, and she intended among other things for them to have "bent front legs" so that they couldn't wander far away from her. Small size was favored as well, for they were lap dogs, pure pets, and prized if they were samll enough to be carried in the sleeves of their owners.

    So, aside from being several years late with your critique of the retched Peke which did not win the English KC this year, you also can't blame "modern confirmation show breeders" for the confirmation or the standard of the dogs they're bringing to the ring these days – The Empress of China also wished that her Pekes would always be of a dispostion to bite any foreign devils who approached them, and while I know Pekes who will certainly nip at the ankles of people they don't know, they generally content themselves with being aloof and stand-offish, much like most sight hounds I know.

    So, I think the point here, with at least one breed you determine to be wretched, the fault, if there is one, doesn't lie with modern show breeders but with the Empress of China who wrote the breed standard in the 1860s … I'm not quite sure what you'd like to do about what you consider to be the wretched state of Pekes today – I personally find it rather encouraging that a breed who's legs were meant to be bent in order to keep it from wandering (much like the bound feet of Chinese women) is today a dog that can travel the large group and best in show rings of today's dog shows with much larger breeds and aquit themselves well … they seem to enjoy a bit of rough and tumble in dog yard play as well, and my cousin has a lovely and very heavily coated Peke who does very well on his daily constitutionals, both morning and evening ….

    So, no matter how wretched you may perceive the "Pekes" of today to be, I don't believe they're that far removed from the dogs of the Empress summer palace of 150 years ago … they seem to be up on leg as well – a physical fact well concealed by heavy coat – which, by the way is as much a tribute to today's diet and grooming products as it is selective breeding practices …

    Next post, we'll move on to GSDs and Golden Retrievers … and inbreeding. I just got word that the Mother Ship has gone back to that Galaxy far, far away, and I'm on leave for R&R unti its return.

  36. The original pekes looked like Tibetan spaniels.

    You know how I know?

    I've seen the photographs of them in this book:


    And I've seen enough of the old strain of golden retrievers and have actually worked the dogs to tell you exactly what is wrong with the show version. The large Newfoundlands were once used as retrievers, but today, this task is beyond their pay scale. Goldens are developing the conformation of these dogs, though they are a bit smaller

    Show people are good at making things up. Yes the dowager empress had a standard for the breed, and yet her dogs looked like Tibetan spaniels.

    Breed clubs do not understand historiography, but they DO understand how to distort it and lie about it.

  37. Okay, Anon(alack!), you got me there–that Peke won the 2003 Cruft's Kennel club show in England, not this past year's. It was also the Best Of Breed for 3 years running! But isn't that beside the point? The point was–this wretched little dog cannot even walk any distance without overheating because of breathing problems, and has to be carried on a pillow and kept on an ice pack after the slightest exertion! In my opinion, such a dog should not even be allowed to show, much less WIN! And I believe you have misinterpreted my calling this one individual Peke "wretched"; into thinking I believe all Pekes are–I do not. I have known quite a few marvelous little Pekes from my many dog-related jobs(Vet/Kennel/Pet Shop), including relatives that had them as pets, and they WERE lively, fun, energetic, and quite long-lived little boogers, and none exhibited the problems the former Cruft's winner has. As an obvious Peke lover, YOU should be more outraged than anyone that such a degenerate example of the breed becomes the top representitive of the breed by winning such a prestigious conformation show! Do YOU want a Peke that you can't even walk any distance on a leash, and you have to put on an ice pack after the slightest exertion? I have no problem with mashed-in faces, short, dwarfy legs, and other bred-in mutations of many of these breeds IF general overall health is not compromised. But conformation show breeders keep EXAGERRATING these characteristics until they do become serious health problems–that ain't okay, for ANYBODY who puts a dog's welfare over winning ribbons. And I'm pleased to see that the British Peke breed club has now CHANGED the standard to try and rectify this problem of overexagerrating the mashed-in faces, as of 2008(which is what I had read, and assumed–incorrectly–that it involved the 2008 Crufts winner), but they only did it after LOTS of criticism from outside the club–in other words, it never occurred to them on their own(apparently)that there was anything wrong with breeding and showing dogs like this!–but back to the recent Cruft's winner you mentioned–the Sealyham Terrier! Sorry, but this is another breed that looks NOTHING like it's original ancestors, and is now USELESS as a functioning, working terrier! They have exagerrated coats(totally impractical in the field), awkward, elongated bodies(nothing like their ancestors), are oversized and couldn't hope to go to ground if their lives depended on it! Among real working terriermen, from very functional ancestors, the modern Sealyham is now considered one of the most USELESS of terriers for actual work! This represents exactly what I have been harping on; that the AKC and British KC are so out of touch(or just don't care) with the many, many other perspectives of actual, functionning dogs, that they often don't even know these facts. And yes, Retrieverman, the original Pekes looked quite different from modern show Pekes, as you said, and even quite a bit exagerrated in profuse coats and shortened muzzles from even a few decades ago. And OBVIOUSLY, this kind of inbreeding for exagerrated physical characteristics IS NOT HEALTHY!…..L.B.

  38. …and so Anon! You ARE an Alien! I suspected as much! I promise not to report you to the Paranormal Researchers Society(or The National Enquirer) if you promise not to ZAP! me with your ray gun in a Pekingnese-berseker-frenzy!….L.B.

  39. Why would you think I am an obvious Peke lover? I have no idea where you come up with this idea – probably from the same book that told you Pekes were Tibetian Spaniels … hmmmmm ….

    No, I'm not a Peke fancier, owner, breeder, exhibitor or anything else … I've never seen a Peke at a show that had to be carried around on an ice pack to keep it breathing … IF that is true of the Peke that won Crufts several years ago, I concur with you that the dog was being mistreated and should not have been allowed to compete … was there an outcry in the world of purebred dogs … such a thing generally brings on many diatribes and I didn't hear any …

    I'm still sticking to my story – despite your book on doggie DNA that the first Pekes to arrive in Great Britain and their immediate ancestors more closely resembled modern day Pekes than they did Tibetian Spaniels.

    And whether "dog show folk" make up stories about their dogs or not — be careful what you assume about me … cuz you know nothing and it be just be one of those instances in which your assumptions are as erroneous as they are about "confirmation show people."

    The final point is this – I still stick to my original story – they've got as much right to show as you've got to hunt and I don't see how you can shut them down without shutting yourself down.

  40. Another of those points vis a vis the functionality of today's Sealyham Terrier! I say, so what? If we need a good earth dog I'm sure there are still breeds out there that fill the bill … But please, pray tell just what is wrong with breeding pretty Sealy – spending some time on grooming it for a couple of years and taking it to dog shows? Maybe it could go to ground, maybe it couldn't, I don't really know, and in the first decade of the 20th century does it really matter?

    What is wrong with breeding attractive dogs, with nice dispositions to be human companions?

    I'm just having a really difficult time wrapping my mind around your problem with that?

  41. Actually, there is plenty wrong with just breeding "attractive" companions (that often aren't).

    This is where I will sound like an AR fanatic. If people want companions, just adopt!

    We aren't raising show canaries, show rats, or show rats here. We're breeding a somewhat higher animal that is being ruined by the species that is called its best friend. I certainly don't wish for that title to be taken with irony. We should be their best friends.

    I wish I could find the digitized photos of those pekes. They look exactly (EXACTLY) like Tibetan spaniels. Only a dog show fanatic would deny this, or a really ignorant person. The dogs had what are called apple heads.

    You should note that no Pekingese websites have these photos (for obvious reasons), but if you get that book and look at the first dogs imported the West, they are very, very like Tibetan spaniels.

    I have eyes, and my eyes told me when they looked at those early Pekes that they were very similar to Tibetan spaniels. But you can ignore the evidence and just look at the dogs from the black and white photos that the breed clubs

    Unfortunately, these photos don't circulate in peke circles. However, if you can get that particular book, you'll see what I mean.

    I don't like working dogs ruined, and I don't like companion dogs so exaggerated that they can't breathe or whelp properly.

    Have a look at the Peke in the background at the Rothschild Zoological Museum at Tring, England: http://www.messybeast.com/history/1800dogs-1.htm


    1. Tibetan Spaniel: http://puppydogweb.com/gallery/tibetanspaniels/tibetanspaniel_kathrynross.jpg

    2. Modern show peke: http://dogpile.ca/dog-pictures/images/pekingese-2.jpg

    I think I just closed the case on that one.

    Yes the Dowager Empress exaggerated her dogs, but we in the West picked up where she left off!

  42. Anon, Anon–you are lumping my(L. B.) and Retrieverman's writing together–although I certainly side with him on most things(he has a great blog, too!). I assumed you liked Pekes because you were defending them and discussing them as if you knew them well as a breed–apparently not. You may "Google" "Cruft's Winners; Pekingese", and there are several articles about this debilitated(in my opinion) Cruft's winner–including the modification in the Peke standard as of 2008 after pressure to change embarrassed the club into this action–although as you see it still took 5 years to get around to it. Meanwhile, as so often happens with show winners, everyone wants to breed their dogs with the Champion–one of the problems with dog show breeding. And you are wrong if you think I'm against people breeding dogs for shows with–let's say– milder temperments and just concentrate on the looks for confOrmation shows. What I am against is the fact that these physical characteristics keep getting more and more and more EXAGERRATED(always because of inbreeding to fix and intensify those characteristics) which INEVITABLY leads to health problems, and dogs which can no longer function normally. I despair when a formerly good working type dog is ruined for actual work by this process, but beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder–I rarely find the non-working lines of dogs better looking than the show dogs–but that's just me, and I don't think different ideals of beauty are WRONG. HOWEVER, the AKC and KC confOrmation show-ers need to STOP inaccurately spouting how they are PRESERVING the breeds when in fact, they are CHANGING them, so much so that they can no longer do the original work(because of both physical and temperment changes). And sadly, their type of inbreeding ALWAYS in time results in lots of genetic problems, and this simply is not humane! Or sensible! If confOrmation dog show-ers would be truthful about WHAT they are really doing(just holding exagerrated "beauty" contests based more on human politics than actual improvement of dogs, breed for HEALTHY dogs not so exagerrated that they have basic physiological problems(like crippled hindquarters, inability to birth properly, or difficulty breathing), and quit making up or exagerrating actual dog breed histories in order to try to impress others with the "pureness" or ancient origins of their breeds, then I will happily withdraw and leave them alone! Meanwhile, I will rant about it every chance I get, because there are STILL a LOT of people(like yourself, for instance) that don't seem to realize these things….L.B.

  43. Sorry for the confusion on my part between Retrieverman and the other poster …

    Yes, Retrieverman, you do sound exactly like an Animal Rights advocate, but I'm going to assume that you're not "one of them," and point out to you that they've got no more respect or admiration for your hunting dogs than you've got for the "show dogs" of the purebred fancy – if they have their way (and they're very close to getting it) none of us will have dogs of any description to call our friends, comapanions or working partners.

    You've just made my point about the first pekes imported into the west … apparently five dogs from the place or kennel or environs of the Empress of China were taken to Great Britain in the 1860s … if memory serves me the first "kennel" in Great Britain to breed them was call "Good Wood" or something with Wood in it and the pictures of those specimens are very much like the Pekes of today with the exception of coat, both quantity and quality. This is, contrary to what you seem to believe, a matter more of grooming and cosmetic products than "breeding for maximun coat." Yes, the Empress bred exaggerated dogs and those in the West who fancied the breed as it came of China continued to breed for that type.

    You may not like it, but the point is, I find no justification for you to be judge and jury of who breeds what kind of dog in any country in the world. Just as you and I both find no justification for those who want us to stop hunting and/or using dogs as guardians, or using horses for the sport of racing, or working cattle, or for that matter, eating cattle …

    My point again and again and again is this … you and I have the right to use our animals as we see fit, and choosing our menus for only so long as we allow others the same privilege …

    I don't know that much about breeding "hunting dogs" … my uncles had both English Setters and Pointers as I was growing up and they are still recognizable in those old photographs even today as those breeds … I see dogs like them in the field today, so someone has been preserving them in the whelping box … I'm old enough to remember an English Setter from the 1950s named Ch. Rock Falls Colonel … he was an absolutely beautiful dog – he made an astounding impression on me when I was little more than ten years old, and I can still close my eyes today and see him both in the ring and running free in exercise and play …

    Now, I've got to ask you Mr. Retrieverman – exactly what is so wrong with that, that you believe you have the moral authority to stop those dogs from being bred?

    In my – not so humble opinion – you don't sound any less classist, or snobish, or bigoted or uninformed than the so-called "confirmation breeders" you so apparently despise.

    I really do believe it is time for all of us to either climb down off our high horses and, if not cooperate with one another to preserve our right to own and use animals as we see fit, at least drop the inflamatory rhetoric and stop givings the ARistas the ammunition they need to put all of us out of business.

  44. ….L. B. here again; The two main things wrong, Anon-from-another-planet, with both the AKC and British KC, is that their activity allows for these physical debilities to compete(and WIN!), whereas in working lines of dogs, dogs that can't do the job simply don't get bred to perpetuate these defects, and the result is they tend to be much healthier, and dare I say(in my opinion) smarter. It IS true that intense types of working dogs don't necessarily make the best pets for the average, modern, animal-ignorant citizen; if one does not find a suitable outlet for those instincts, physical abilities and "smarts"–but MY preference is to put up with the high energy and calculated thinkers rather than the physically deformed and unhealthy. There really is a great need(after we get all our strays adopted out, of course!) for someone to concentrate on breeding healthy, mild mannered PETS!(THEY ARE OUT THERE–often disillusioned former confOrmation show-ers!) The other problem with the AKC and KC is that they have been a MAJOR influence in the dog world for quite awhile(though this seems to be changing, at last), and so many people that get involved or just listen to their inaccurate platitudes accept the conclusions of this very narrow way of thinking about breeding and showing dogs–in other words, they accept, after awhile, that the Cocker Spaniels(that I mentioned earlier) are SUPPOSED to have profuse, difficult to groom coats and no hunting ability and rotten temperments(compared to what they used to be like), and even the ignorant "backyard breeders" and puppy mills produce this type, because, well, that's the PROPER type, and anyone breeding anything different is villified by this once(and still; but waning) powerful influence in the dog world. There ARE people like me that have never given a darn WHAT the show people think(this includes most working-line dog people), but we have been a vocal minority for a long time, and therefore not as influential–more's the pity. More and more people are waking up and realizing how much of what the confOrmation show people spout is inaccurate, and even detrimental to the breeds, and I hope this continues and helps revolutionize the concept of showing, and what breeding for REALLY superior dogs is all about. I am often accused of being a dreamer, however…..L.B.

  45. When people are doing things that I think are both stupid and injurious to the animals I deeply love and respect, I will say what I think.

    I'm not an animal rights fanatic. If an animal lives a natural life and then one day is shot, it really hasn't suffered that much. Even animals in leg hold traps have still lived natural lives, and because most states require daily inspection of traps, they most likely haven't been in those traps for more than a few hours at the end of their natural lives.

    For a fox, to be killed after spending a few hours of discomfort in a leg hold trap is far less agony than dying of mange because the foxes have become overpopulated and the mange parasite has run rampant in the population.

    Similarly, if a peke can't properly breathe or cool itself for ten or more years of its life, it spends its whole life in agony. It is worse off than a fox in a trap.

    I view animal welfare in a strictly Benthamesque (though not Singeresque) utilitarianism.

  46. Anonymous LB said…

    **Anon, Anon–you are lumping my(L. B.) and Retrieverman's writing together–although I certainly side with him on most things(he has a great blog, too!). I assumed you liked Pekes because you were defending them and discussing them as if you **knew them well as a breed–apparently not

    I do know Pekes reasonably well as a breed, just as I know many breeds reasonably well, even though I've never owned them, and in most cases have never had the desire to own them. I've known a lot of Pekes both show and pet over the years, and I don't know a single one of them who has lived its life in misery due to breathing disabilities – anymore than my families Boxers lived their lives in misery due to their particular head/nuzzle configurations. As either you, or Retrieverman said, I've been raised close to many different facets of animal ownership, breeding, husbandry and competition for all of my life; My first acquaintanceship with "working dogs" was on my grandparent's farm where terriers of one description or the other earned their living by keeping varmints away from the barns, and the larger dogs accounted for the occasional ground hog. My uncles hunted with setters and pointers, and my grandfather (a Welshman) who was an engineer by profession, but fancied himself a gentleman farmer and used Cardigan Corgies to control herd animals. I've seen them work cattle by "heeling" them, and I've also seen them jump
    onto the back of sheep when moving them from pasture to pasture. My father raised Boxers which came with him from Germany and my mother raised Scotties before FDR made them popular. In my "real life" I've been smitten with sighthounds since the early 1950s. I've shown dogs in everything from obedience to field trials to the dreaded confirmation ring (both UKC and AKC) as well. The
    sad truth is, I just love dogs … I don't care what breed they are, I don't care if they are a breed – I don't care if they're a working breed, herding dog, hunting dog, varmint dog, or a spoiled pet – I love dogs. It doesn't seem to matter what you ask them to do, if they've got the proper heart and (as someone said, proper race memory) they'll give it all they've got to get the job done, or they'll die trying if you let them … and that is as true of a guard dog taking care of a herd, as it is a tiny Peke trucking around a dog show ring because the crowd is going wild over him and he's eating it up — the thing is, in my mind, that little Peke,
    or Sealy, or Poodle, or Kerry Blue has got as much heart and spirit to get the job done as any working or hunting dog I've ever seen and I've seen them all from Coon Hounds tackling a coon in a creed (deadly mistake) to Jack Russels going down a hole after a groundhog or a fox. (cont)

  47. I've not googled for info on the Peke winner at Crufts – I'd look first at the source of the articles that were posted – I've had quite a bit of experience in the past few years with those who call themselves journalists and write for the internet and the so-called press these days and I don't put much credence in what they have to say … consider that two forces have combined in Europe and the UK these days to influence the thinking of the general public about the "rights" of animals – those being the actual Animal Rights Fanatics who think no one should own animals, and the Politicians who've accepted their money to be elected to public office … the same politicians who've decreed that those countries which want to join the European Common Market must follow animal rights laws regarding the ownership of animals.

    On to the issue of "inbreeding" — there are two ways of looking at that as an issue — on the broadest spectrum, there is NO "purebred dog" that is not inbred. Golden Retrievers for instance may have descended from as few as four or five bitches – depending on who's story you believe" and the German Shepherd Dog of today may be the ultimate product of one foundation stud … I'm not totally "up" on the esoteric history of either of those breeds, but I do recall that already in the 1950s both of those breeds were afflicted with what was then called "subluxation of the hip joint." And back to an earlier statement, it is
    NOT accurate to say that hip dysplasia is caused by straight stifles. Inbreeding, linebeeding, out-crossing, cross breeding
    lots of different ways to accomplish a pedigree and getting away from "show breeders" I know areas of the region where I live that even the "mutts" are inbred … in one instance, a neighbor who owned a "old fashioned type" chow, let the dog roam the countryside so often that over a period of seven or eight years, fully 35 – 40% of the dogs in the country were identifiable as his get or descendents and an alarming number of those dogs were, like their old man, dysplastic! The telling point here is that dysplasia is a very complex resessive trait, so the "mutts" to who this dog was voluntarily out-crossing obviously carried the gene if they were not themselves dysplastic

    We can argue all day long just exaclty what it is that most "confimation breeders" say it is that they're doing, and I do have problems with the motivation of a lot of them … whether they're preserving or maintaining, or trying to breed closer to the standard, it doesn't sound any less oppressive to say they shouldn't be allowed to do it, or that it would be best if AKC shows went away (why not UKC too – I show my dogs in both venues), than it sounds when the ARistas or the city cousins with Bambi complexes say that all hunting should be banned. The longer that dog loving, dog breeding, dog using fanciers continue to spout that antagonistic, arrogant crap about one another, the less time any of us have to continue to own, breed
    and use our dogs as we see fit.

    Like any good family – we may not agree with one another, but By God, don't let the enemy hear you say it because they will use it to divide, conquer and eventually destroy us.

  48. Anon–you just don't seem to get it! I'm not talking about the healthy Pekes you've seen–I'm talking about the Cruft's WINNER of 2003! Do YOU think breeding such deformed dogs, and letting them WIN dog shows, and letting them be THE representitives of "superior" dogs is okay? WHY did this Peke breed club FINALLY amend its ridiculous standard? ONLY because of criticism outside the fancy! Such criticism is ABSOLUTELY necessary–if one does not police and improve one's own group(whatever it may be), THAT'S when outsiders that really know nothing start BANNING everything! If you REALLY give a damn about dogs, like you keep saying you do, then you would NOT support this kind of breeding and showing! Yeah, there can be a lot of B. S. out there on the internet, that's for sure–you have to learn how to filter through it to find the truth. NO ONE puts out more B. S. than AKC and KC dog confOrmation show-ers, though! Go ahead, PLEASE DO look up the Cruft's PEKE winner before you continue to comment. Have you seen the infamous BBC documentary "Pedigree Dogs Exposed"? I can't believe you have, and still support this view that breeding and showing dogs as it is done by the AKC and KC is okay, IF you give a darn about dogs! PLEASE look up and watch this documentary, and THEN tell me it's all made-up lies, and you think such breeding practices are just fine! I dare you! One place this documentary is always available is on the terrierman.com blog, on one of his side bars. It'll just take an hour of your time, and perhaps FINALLY help you open your eyes to REALITY! You can just Google "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" and get LOTS of info on the subject–and they can't ALL be lies! I KNOW they are not, because I've seen this stupid crap all my life, but have usually been outnumbered and nearly lynched for DARING to bring it up to confOrmation dog show people! But the internet has changed that somewhat, in that we afficiondos of functioning dogs are discovering more and more–hey! WE ARE NOT ALONE!(sorry, I just can't help but keep throwing in references to extraterrestrials, as that is what I feel like I'm trying to communicate with here!) 🙂 …..L.B.

  49. …And I'm sorry, I can't let your references to English Setters being "just fine" go. Perhaps the ones YOU saw were–sounds like they were actual hunting dogs. I have also been around a lot of bird dogs, both English Setters and Pointers and others. All the FUNCTIONAL type, too. You could not POSSIBLY think that real hunting stock English Setters look ANYTHING like the show dogs! The show setters are huge and klunky and have zero stamina in the field, plus they have exagerrated feathering that makes grooming them a major chore, and totally impractical for field work. They have huge, drooping jowls that drip drool constantly, and are slow and lethargic in comparison with the field types. But hey, like I said, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder? But what has happened AGAIN is that NO ONE who really wants to hunt with an English Setter gets an AKC or KC dog, IF they know what they are doing! The show setters are not nearly as common as the hunting type in this breed(thank God), and with this limited breed gene pool(in the show dogs) PLUS constant "line-breeding" to keep those show points coming, this version of the show dogs are, of course unhealthy and non-functional. Don't just take my word for it, LOOK IT UP! How many times with how many breeds does this have to play out before you afficiondos-of-the-dog- shows get it?…..L.B.

  50. Listen LB – I did go so far as to look for references on the Peke winner of 2003 Crufts … the only thing I could find that had any credibility, or sounded like anything I'm familiar with is a reference to putting "ice packs" under the dog while he was being photographed … believe it or not, "ice packs" are used on practically every breed of dog (all 140 plus of them now) at shows … I've always thought that it had more to do with the owners idea of what the dog needed than what the dog needed … probably *if* the Peke was placed on ice packs while being photographed, it had more to do with keeping him comfortable under the hot lots of TV cameras and news cameras than the immanent collapse of the dog.

    In addition, I've made a call to a person who is familiar with the actual dog, and who has handled dogs at Crufts, and I am assured that the dog is not a deformed or decrepit monstrosity …

    The story is this – a rumor surfaced that the Peke's owners had had some sort of plastic surgery done on the dog's face which altered its appearance and should have disqualitfied it from being shown. In other words, they were accused of what used to be called "faking" … the dog in point of fact had surgery done on its **throat** (vet certificate supplied along with vet exams) for what is described as an "acquired condition." … Could have been tonsils for all we know …. at any rate, after all the protests filed, claims examined, etc., the dog and the owners were declared to be "not faking" and the dog was declared the winner of the 2003 Crufts show.

    Story is here:


    The reference to "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" I found, also contained the supposedly true infomation that many breeds of dogs, including everything from Rotties to Sighthounds to Chihuahuas have had their skulls so terribly misshapen and deformed by "inbreeding" that their brains (which have remained 'normal size') become so crowded that it is necessary to removed the back parts of their skulls and then sew the flap of skin back over the "hole" so that they can be shown. Gawd help me, I had no idea that all those show dogs I see several times a month are running around with large size holes in their skulls to give them brainpan room … how do you suppose that dogs with that sort of CNS deficit manage to perform and stay alive with that sort of grevious physical disability … what kinds of meds do you suppose they keep them on so that they're functional in the ring?

    In-so-far as I'm aware, the Peke club altered the standard to state that the "muzzle should be distinct" in order to appease the political forces in Europe and keep the AR fanatics happy … You may or may not know that this years Crufts show was not televised live in the UK due to the nasty rukus raised by Animal Rights fanatics in the UK – the very people who probably produced the "pedigree expose" about purebred dogs, and by the way, the very same folks who fought so long and hard to ban the practice of using hounds to hunt in the UK.

    I don't intend to continue a discussion which is threatening to become personal on your part – but I will say this, if you believe that there are scores of show dogs running around the circuits in the US and the UK with holes cut into their skulls to relive the pressure on their brains I've got swamp land in FLA that I'd like to show you — it is for sale.

  51. ANON LB said:..And I'm sorry, I can't let your references to English Setters being "just fine" go. Perhaps the ones YOU saw were–sounds like they were actual hunting dogs. I have also been around a lot of bird dogs, both English Setters and Pointers and others. All the FUNCTIONAL type, too. You could not POSSIBLY think that real hunting stock English Setters look ANYTHING like the show dogs!"

    I really do believe that you need to go back and reread my post regarding English Setters – both field and "show" dogs … no where do I say that they are the same type of dog, and no where do I imply that an English Setter bred for today's show ring is "just fine" for field competition … you really do need to just calm down and read what is written …

    Of course, the field dog and the show ring dog have diverged widely in type … my point was that in photos I've save of my uncles pointers and setters, the type of those dogs is still recognizable at the field trials I attend today … someone has preserved the type! DUH!

    I also said that the dog I named, Ch. Rock Falls Colonel was a beautiful animal, and made such an impression on me when I saw him in person that I sill remember him vividly more than 50 years later … I see no problem with that .. I did know him, he was a lovely, lovely dog, and even though I didn't say so in the first instance, he was indeed "Just fine."

    An uncle of mine who lost his life in the the Eurpoean Theater in WWII left behind a setter and a pointer named "Rain" and "Snow" and they were also JUST FINE .. I'm not aware though, that they had any more claim to exist than did their opposite number in the show ring, "Colonel."

    AND, for your further edification, I just received via email two pics of the Peke, Danny who was the crufts winner … in the headstudy, he does appear to have a very promient nose wrinkle, which does not obstruct his nostrils, and in the pics of him standing and moving, he's up on leg and moving well for a dog of that size.

    Have you seen Danny or gone over him? I think you might want to check your sources before you believe everything you read … from all available accounts, the Animal Rights fruit cakes are even better at producing myth and twisting facts than you claim "confirmation breeders" to be.

  52. I think we have generated a lot of light and now maybe a bit too much heat– Let's step back a bit please. Your opinions are all valuable to me.

    One thing though: "…the very people who probably produced the "pedigree expose" about purebred dogs.."

    According to John Burchard the director of that film is not AR, but in fact a sportswoman who hunts with dogs– maybe like LB (;-)

  53. I think we have generated a lot of light and now maybe a bit too much heat– Let's step back a bit please. Your opinions are all valuable to me.

    One thing though: "…the very people who probably produced the "pedigree expose" about purebred dogs.."

    According to John Burchard the director of that film is not AR, but in fact a sportswoman who hunts with dogs– maybe like LB (;-)

  54. Anonymous- The ARFs do not need to use these types of arguments as ammunition in their anti-breeding campaign. The conformation segment of the dog world, which includes the breed clubs, gives them plenty of ammunition on their own.

    I don't know if you've been following what's been going on in the UK with their Kennel Club since Pedigree Dogs Exposed aired, but it's interesting and it's a foreshadow of what could happen once that program airs in the US. The KC told the German Shepherd club that there would be no more challenge certificates for GSDs until the club cleans up it's act in regards to the soundness of GSDs that win in the conformation ring. They changed the breed standards and told the breed clubs they had so many months to approve them. They commissioned a huge report on the 'registration, breeding and showing' of purebred dogs in the UK to help with further decisions. They okayed the registration of LUA Dalmatians. They allowed a breeder to mix two different types of Dachshunds, which are considered separate breeds there. They've banned first degree inbreeding (father/daughter, mother/son.) It will be very interesting to see what will happen after the commission turns in it's report. I have many friends over there and it would mean a great deal to the gene pools to have the quarantine restrictions eased so importing new blood is easier and less expensive.

    What is an ARA going to see in the early part of this comment thread? Joanna making excuse after excuse as to why the stud books should stay closed. Doesn't reflect well on conformation breeders, does it? Not with all the research showing that a closed registry is detrimental to the dog in general. (Before you start, I'm not talking about dogs in particular, not your dogs, not the dogs of people you know, the ones that have been line bred for generations and are healthy blah blah blah. I 'know' someone who has dogs with COIs of 40% or so, which are very healthy and have huge litters. Population genetics is not about particular dogs or lines.) The Dalmatian Club of America just voted once again to not allow the LUA Dals to be registered by AKC. One breeding with a Pointer over thirty generations ago and they're still 'not pure.' That doesn't reflect well, either.

  55. Hate these freaking things that won't accept a long comment!

    Scottee- color me disappointed. All of my dogs are companions first. I would venture to say that in the US there are very few people who are subsistence hunting and really NEED their dogs; the vast majority of dogs in the industrialized world 'just' companions. I like a certain kind of dog. If I cannot get my chosen breeds here in the US I will import them. A random bred dog is not what I want and I have absolutely no patience with people who believe that if one does not 'work' their dogs one should just pop down to the shelter and pick a dog out of a hat and it will be just perfect for you. I call bullshit on that idea.

    For the record, you will not find anywhere in this thread where I have said conformation people shouldn't be allowed to breed. I respect their right to keep the kind of dogs they love and they can do whatever they like with them, up to and including spending hours blow drying them and rolling their hair up in little paper bundles and trotting them in circles. Oh, and endlessly discussing which angle is better for the front assembly. BUT, I expect them to extend me the same courtesy, which is where the equation comes unbalanced. I DON'T expect to be called a puppy mill for breeding two litters in a year, inherently unethical for cross-breeding, or to be harassed via e-mail by a parent club member and AKC judge. I don't expect to be witness to a public lynching of one breeder who bred ONE litter of working dogs and kept the pups outside. I don't expect to be told I will never be one of the Cool People because I bought dogs from the 'wrong' people. Bit hard to embrace your fellow breeders in the fight against the ARFs when they act like that, eh? Makes you want to throw them under a bus. A bus that you're driving.

    I'm done with this thread now.

    PS to Steve: I haven't seen Pedigree Dogs Exposed. Jeffrey Bragg was very disappointed in it. He felt it was one-sided and sensationalistic and didn't show the breeders who do consider health and temperament important, the health research being done, etc. I expect I will probably agree with him once I've seen it.

  56. Jess commented:

    "PS to Steve: I haven't seen Pedigree Dogs Exposed. Jeffrey Bragg was very disappointed in it. He felt it was one-sided and sensationalistic and didn't show the breeders who do consider health and temperament important, the health research being done, etc. I expect I will probably agree with him once I've seen it."

    I expect that you will be in agreement as well – The show is available in segmented episodes on You Tube – and it is extremely sensationalized, IMHO, right up to and including a thinly veiled comparison of today's Kennel Clubs and purebred breeders to Hitler and his NAZI doctrines. A superb piece of political propaganda.

    As I've tried to point out all along – it is not my objective to defend the breeding of animals which are so impaired they can't enjoy life … but as Jess has said, very few of us who live in the western countries need to maintain working or hunting or herding animals in order to sustain life; I also agree that the idea I can trot down to the local animal shelter and pick out a nice companion to just as well spend the the next ten or 15 years with is a logically flawed assumption.

    It continues to be my contention that there is no good way to tell a purebred "show breeder" (or any animal fancier) what or how he can breed in his kennel (Oh, I forgot, it is not PC to keep dogs in a kennel these days) – but I digress … there is simply no way to tell one person that he can breed only a certain kind of dog and still protect the rights of another breeder who is not producing so-called "show dogs."

    I recall a few years ago when the great Open Field Coursing Expose' hit California and the HSUS/Wayne Pacelle Toadies were telling anyone who would listen that sighthounds should be outlawed because it was their instinct to chase and kill small, fast moving creatures — and we all know according to the Pacelle Party Line that children are small, fast moving creatures.

    Good thing I'd not heard that when my daughter was a small, fast moving creature, there would have been no sighthounds in this house!

  57. Sorry, I got a bit heated.

    I had no idea that the AR people were saying this about sight hounds. Otherwise, I would have chosen my words more carefully.

    To me a companion dog is a dog that has no tendencies toward any sort of behavior. These dogs are meant to be nothing more than pets. I certainly wouldn't tell people to get working strain goldens as pets, because they are not appropriate for most pet homes. The working temperament for my breed is too much for the average person to put up with.

    As for that comment on golden retrievers, their problem isn't too few foundational dams. Their problems include a lot of heavy inbreeding in the old flat or wavy-coated retriever, which included the goldens.

    They descend from three foundational strains. Although the Tweedmouth strain every talks about is the ancestral strain to these three foundational strains, these three strains were heavily outcrossed to black flat-coats, which were the dominant retriever breed in Britain at the time.

    The real problem is that within this breed too few stud dogs are used every year, and they sire far too many puppies. Over the years, this has reduced the breed's genetic diversity.

    Pedigree Dogs Exposed is something I liked, simply because it was shock treatment. The breed with syringomyelia that required that drastic treatment was a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

    I just don't see the point in closed registries and dog shows. We should be thinking of this animal as an organism– a diverse one that bonds strongly with us but one that requires genetic diversity and relatively normal conformation to be healthy for the long term. Dogs are unusual in that they can be bred in such bizarrely unique shapes and forms, and that's fine to certain point. But I think we've crossed the line between breeding novelty and breeding deformity.

  58. I am not heated or angry at anyone on this blog, just frustrated at my own inability to get through to someone I feel has their heart in the right place, but has been duped by too many years of AKC/KC propaganda, and I suppose the frustration of my lack of ability to write well enough to get through has bled through–sorry if I offended anyone; I sure wouldn't want to be responsible for splitting someone's spleen!…..L.B.

  59. …BUT, I did want to make a few more(cringe) comments…First, my alien friend Anon(and I say that as a term of endearment–really; I've enjoyed the company of every alien I've met in person!:)–anyway, I'd like to say here on your last comments–YOU WERE EXACTLY RIGHT! Dogs being shown 50 years ago WERE NOT YET(in many breeds) diverged from working stock/ functional dogs–but many are now, alas, including the aforementioned English Setters. I cannot agree with you that that Cruft's Peke winner looks and moves okay–seeing it walk on a leash on film, my opinion was that the poor dog moved horribly, unlike the many "untypey" pet Pekes I have known, that could romp and play with other dogs easily with no need of ice packs ever–we'll just have to disagree I guess on that score. I also agree that "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" is sensational–but it is not about things that never happen–they do happen, have been allowed to pass, and unfortunetely sometimes sensationalism is the only thing that gets through. And Jess, YES, AKC confOrmation people have for years villified everyone else in dogs, and I think the resentments are deep and entrenched because of it, and now that this former icon of dogdom is toppling(unless it changes its tune soon) those of us formerly villified are naturally striking back–I know I just can't help myself! Out of curiousity, I HAVE always wondered WHERE exactly AKC confOrmation dog show people breed their dogs, if not in their backyards? Their front yards? Their bathrooms? Their Living rooms? Perhaps the basement? I also disagree that just because one does not want to show or work they should get a mutt–of course you could do like me and get some of ALL categories! Mutts, purebred pets, AND working dogs! But the aesthetic enjoyment and some semblance of predictability one gets researching and choosing a purebred to fit one's lifestyle is one of the most sensible and satisfying ways to acquire a dog. Whenever I want a purebred, I seek out one of those villified "backyard breeders" that simply cares about their dogs' health and finding good homes for the pups, and is often generations from show bred stock. The pups from such a background are often much healthier and functional(if you are into any recreational function, as I am), and always CHEAPER that show dogs! It is true some unprofessional people are HORRIBLE, but one can filter through that element purty easy and find the good ones with some effort. To me, these are the people that are TRULY preserving the purebreds!….L.B.

  60. For AnonLB – you said:

    I am not heated or angry at anyone on this blog, just frustrated at my own inability to get through to someone I feel has their heart in the right place, but has been duped by too many years of AKC/KC propaganda, and I suppose the frustration of my lack of ability to write well enough to get through has bled through– …..

    OK, even though I don't want this to get out of hand, let me say that I'm amazed by the assumptions about ME that you've formed from what I've written … apparently you believe that no one who likes particular breeds of dogs has a mind to think with … but that instead, I've been brainwashed by years of AKC/KC propaganda … how wrong you are!

    What I believe about purebred dogs at dog shows in the US and their breeders and handlers is what I know personally, from knowing the people and dogs that are being discussed … I went so far as to watch the BBC produced film you recommended and among other things I saw the RSPCA veterinarian calling purebred dogs "Mutants" … he spit those words out with same venom and hatred that I've heard others use in speaking of anything "other" that they didn't agree with.

    Secondly – I'm sorely offended by the assumption of yours that I'm so ignorant and lacking in the ability to reason that I'd buy into anyone's research rather than do my own investigations and form my own conclusions … You mention your education in anthropology – I have degrees in multiple disciplines and believe me, I don't swallow "propaganda" hook line and sinker … especially the kinds of emotionally charged bunkum in this movie that even tries to associate the filthy racisim of Hitler's NAZI part with those who breed purebred dogs. Shame on you for your assumptions about my intellegence and reasoning ability. (contd)

  61. cont

    What I am saying is this – I've done hands on investigations of some of the Pekes from the Kennel mentioned in this movie … even their competition says the charge about the Peke who won at Crufts was contrived and pointless … the charge could have been made before the dog ever went into the ring, but instead, the "animal rights leaning contingent" that wants to stop purebred breeding waited until after the award was made, playing the situation for maximun drama, outrage and publicity. You and I may not want to breed toy dogs that require special consideration for their comfort — BUT, they are supposed to be lap dogs, companions — they aren't intended to be working dogs … I believe they have as much right to exist in the world as does any other kind of dog … and if a person wants a toy dog for a companion FINE – they fill a void of loneliness in most instances and they're cared for and pampered beyond belief … you and I may not approve of them, but they have a right to exist if others want them as companions.

    I may not approve of trapping foxes in leg hold traps, but even if I did, I'm not going to try to put an end to the practice because I know that trapping serves many purposes …

    Please, instead of assuming that I'm a naive and ignorant dilettante who lives and dies by the dictates of the AKC – get over it. The only think I need the AKC for is to keep my pedigrees on record (or the UKC can do it – I don't care which) and if I enjoy traveling to the occasional dog show, showing off new puppies and spending a few days in the company of friends I've known for half a century it doesn't mean that the world is going to go to Hell in a handbasket. Any more than it does if I take the dogs (gasp) lure coursing or to an actual field trial.

    I think you should know that the British Kennel Club has applied to Parliament for what appears to be some sort of legal authority to enforce their new versions of individual breed standards. Now, you may think that this is a jim dandy solution to stop breeding those mutant dogs, but they won't stop with "show dogs" … they'll come for the working dogs because they excite cows and sheep, and they'll come for the hounds and the bird dogs as well because they terrorize wild game. Mark my words. I'm not the person who is being brainwashed by mindless propaganda. And then they're going to go after the people who keep raptors – because after all, those birds must be traumatized by those hoods and having to live in close proximity to "those dogs."

    There is no end to it, andit anyone thinks it is not animal right driven, I'm sorry to say this, but you're misguided.

  62. Isn't there a chow from Red Cloud chows who looks basically identical to that out of CH parents who has his UD or UDX? I can't recall the name, but will try to find it.

    Moderate chows ARE out there. THey're just not winning in the show ring.

  63. Well…you can lead a horse to water, but you shore cain't make'um drink! Anything the British Parliement or the United States of American guvmint does to insure people follow through with basic decent animal welfare(without totally revoking the privelege of keeping animals) I'm all for! I think this discussion is a CLASSIC example of just WHY this has become necessary–confOrmation show people who simply REFUSE to see what they are doing(in the way they are breeding)that is detrimental to their dogs. All we can hope for is that out of this controversy, succeeding generations will have a healthier, more diverse idea of what dogs(purebred and otherwise) should be….L.B.

  64. LB – I can't believe how really close-minded you are about facets of the dog fancy other than, of course, the one you're involved in …

    And I'll tell you my opinion about the chances that many more succeeding generations are going to have to own an animal of any description, let alone breed them … tell me who you think in the government is qualified to tell you how to breed your dogs?

    I've also been looking at some Llewellyn Setter pedigrees and field Pointers, and I've got to tell you, they're as least as linebred or inbred as anything I've seen in the show ring … are you planning to have the government tell those folks how to judge their dogs? That is if they're even allowed to own them, because don't you know, they'll point birds … they'll come for them right after they take the hounds away, and then, pray tell, what are you going to do about all those thousands of commercial dog breeders who produce purebred puppies to be sold in pet store chains, or on the internet. I mean those people don't go to "confirmation shows," and most of them don't use either AKC or UKC registries … do you think they're all breeding physically, and genetically and tempermentally healthy dogs?

    People like you, who want the government to control every damned thing human beings do are going to be the end of every freedom Americans have left …

    And thank you Steve for your patience – I'm done now. Gonna go back to North Carolina and let them AKC folks indoctrinate me some more.

  65. ME close-minded?(L. B. here again). Throughout this discussion, I have tried to present alternatives that could HELP the image(as well as the dogs) of AKC/KC confOrmation shows, indicating I AM NOT against the concept of shows, just wish(as many actual show people do themselves, but their ideas are just drowned out in similar inflexible ranting) some very simple adjustments would be made to improve the situation. Like putting performance tests for intelligence and physical ability(these could be very fun and simple) BEFORE confOrmation in importance. Some countries have always done this in regards to some breeds–Norway requires their National dog, the Norweigan Elkhound, to actually hold a moose at bay in the field successfully BEFORE a dog is even eligible for confOrmation showing. Germany requires Weimaraners to pass various field tests BEFORE they can show in confOrmation. This REALLY preserves the breed. Yes, Anon, SOME inbreeding has been done on almost all domestic animals to some degree, but the problem, AGAIN, is that TOO MUCH is being done with many confOrmation breeders. Performance dogs ARE NOT too inbred, because if they were, they eventually COULD NOT perform! They don't need to perform for show, so inbreeding can be gotten away with to a much greater degree. Unfortunetely, this eventually ruins the health and vigor of that breed–this is extremely elementary genetics!!!! As for laws involving animals–I suppose you are okay with dog fighting which was outlawed? How about humane laws that prevent people from starving dogs to death, and not providing decent care to an abusive level? What about Game Laws that prevent people from going out and slaughtering anything that moves year 'round? All these laws have been made, and haven't infringed a bit on decent animal acquisition and usage, and I'm all for them. I would hate it if it became necessary to FORCE AKC/KC show breeders to do the right thing by their breeds, as I am against making MORE laws myself. I'd much prefer they open their OWN eyes, and fix the problem from within. But as your own attitude indicates, with your refusal to listen to factual arguements with an open mind, this unfortunetely might have to occur, and then, alas, as a last resource, I"M ALL FOR IT!…L.B.

  66. Making working breeds are just as inbred as show stock, only they're inbred for different traits (ability instead of looks). They are far from innocent, and really cannot point the finger at conformation shows as being the source of all health problems with dogs just because show dogs are an easier target (because they tend to look weirder).

    Border Collies, for instance, of BOTH Working and Conformation lines, are traced to I believe one or two original stud dogs. But because high COI is 'invisible' and the dogs do more athletic things than trotting around a show ring, they are considered 'healthier'? The core is rotten in both camps, frankly. There are bad and good breeders in working, pet, and show lines as well as unethical, ignorant, and greedy ones. Pitting the various cliques of dog people against each other is a tactic used to keep us so focused squabbling with each other that we don't see the knife coming from the AR legislation that people like HSUS always are trying to sneak by us under the cover of being 'for the welfare of the animals'. THAT was Alien Anon's point. Once you give the government (gawd forbid!) the say in regulating private people's animal husbandry practices, you've lost the war to the AR lobbyists… you really think they will let the 'cruel, greedy' animal breeders influence their laws?

    What you do is educate people and try to foment rebellion and reform among the people who care and are involved in dogs. Attacking their entire group does nothing but make them avoid and reject you out of hand. and how can you influence people who disavow you because of your hostility?

    Legislation of 'ethical breeding' looks like a magic bullet on the surface, but it will not 'work as intended' in the long run, as anyone who has any knowledge of the circus that goes on in congress and the senate every year can attest. Gawd forbid you get some HSUS or PETA members put in charge of defining what 'ethical breeding' is — it'll be all over for all dog loving people if that happens.


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