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Thread: Breeding for the Show Ring...the Other Side.

  1. #1
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    Default Breeding for the Show Ring...the Other Side.

    Question of breeding shows seamy side of business

    * Henry Chu, Birmingham
    * March 7, 2009

    A good hair day for an Afghan hound and co.

    A good hair day for an Afghan hound and co. Photo: Reuters

    IT SEEMS so very British that an ugly row has broken out between those who say they love dogs and those who say they love dogs more.

    Such a royal catfight has ensnared the country's most prestigious dog show, Crufts, a four-day extravaganza of four-legged bliss that comes to a climax this weekend and has drawn millions of viewers to the BBC since 1966.

    The BBC has dropped its coverage of Crufts after a documentary exposed questionable practices among some competitive dog breeders.

    The quest for the perfect look produced Pekingese with excessively mashed-in faces, bulldogs with oversized heads, and dachshunds with unhealthily long bodies.

    Crufts, complained one anti-cruelty activist, was nothing less than a "parade of mutants".

    The fallout has led to competing claims over who has the best interests of dogs at heart in a country where more than one in five households owns a dog.

    Stung by the bad publicity, Britain's Kennel Club, which runs Crufts, issued revised standards of canine beauty in January — modifications it says were already under way but acknowledges rushing into force because of the controversy.

    That sparked protests from some breeders and owners, who fumed that the rules were being changed without fair warning before Crufts, which people here call the "greatest dog show on Earth".

    The pageant's motto this year, coincidentally or not, is "Happy, healthy dogs", promoting an ideal that, Kennel Club officials huff, they certainly didn't need to be lectured about by the BBC.

    "It's almost as if they invented the idea, whereas actually we were very conscious of it, and we were already working with those breeds which we felt to be of the most concern," says Caroline Kisco, the club's secretary.

    "But we were taking a more softly-softly approach in getting them to agree to the changes."

    The program that spawned the fuss, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, aired on the BBC and was not for the squeamish.

    It showed animals suffering from horrible physical problems apparently bred into them by owners intent on achieving contest-winning looks. Some mated dogs with their parents, or siblings with each other — inbreeding that can lead to deformities.

    There were pugs and Pekingese bred to have as flat a face as possible, but which left them unable to breathe properly or regulate their body temperature. One champion Pekingese had to be set on a block of ice when it received its prize.

    Bulldogs were moulded into such an odd shape that they could neither mate nor give birth naturally. Most painful to watch, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel writhed in agony from a permanent headache because its skull had been bred too small for its brain — like "a size 10 foot shoved into a size 6 shoe", a veterinary neurologist explained.

    Public outcry was immediate. Crufts' chief sponsor, a pet food maker, pulled out. And after an internal review, the BBC decided in December to ditch its coverage of the show.

    Meanwhile, judges have been instructed to be vigilant for signs of poor canine health.

    The revised guidelines for poochy pulchritude, Ms Kisco said, should also help ensure that the dogs are "fit for function, fit for life", as the Kennel Club's slogan has it.

    The standards for "only a handful" of breeds have undergone extensive changes, Ms Kisco said, including the bulldog, which is supposed to lose its classic Churchillian jowls and gain longer legs and a leaner body.

    That prompted a gripe from the chairman of the British Bulldog Breed Council: "What you'll get is a completely different dog, not a British bulldog."

    But many animal welfare activists are glad that questionable breeding practices have been exposed and that public discussion on the ethics of dog shows has been unleashed.

    "This dog race of pedigree 'perfection' is destroying its subject," The Times of London said this week in an editorial published under the headline "Ruff trade".

    "It is difficult to see dogs as man's best friend when we castrate them, make them commit incest and parade them under bright lights in Birmingham," the newspaper said.

    LOS ANGELES TIMES

    The home for dog owners and those working with dogs - The Kennel Club

    What are your views?

    While some breeders cry that activists are going to drive breeds to extinction, It seems some are doing a pretty good job of it themselves

    Nic
    Last edited by Billy; 03-08-2009 at 09:13 AM. Reason: to make more sense!

  2. #2
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    Extremists on either side are not helpful to anyone, least of all the dogs. People should be breeding to the standard not for the ring - though really the ring should reflect the standard

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    Agreed!

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    Agree also!

    I can't stand the show ring or the ppl...bit like parents who model their babies/children and smother them in make-up

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    I dunno - that seems a VERY harsh assessment. I would like to show one day - to see if my dog at the time I show is up to the breed standard. A show isn't about faffing around with hairspray and overbred show ponies - well it is for some - but it shouldn't be. A show should be a place to showcase the best of a breed

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozeymum View Post
    Agree also!

    I can't stand the show ring or the ppl...bit like parents who model their babies/children and smother them in make-up
    Agree!! LOL Ozeymum !

    Yes me too, poor little toddlers dressed up in high heels and fishnet stockings, i recently discovered they also use false eyelashes and teeth because their little baby teeth are not "perfect'

    So sad

    Nic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Occy View Post
    I dunno - that seems a VERY harsh assessment. I would like to show one day - to see if my dog at the time I show is up to the breed standard. A show isn't about faffing around with hairspray and overbred show ponies - well it is for some - but it shouldn't be. A show should be a place to showcase the best of a breed
    In what way Occy?

    It is very common for the brachy breeds in particular to be made to lie on cooling mats inbetween showing as they are unable to breath and if they cant breath they cant cool down.

    I agree that it should be a place for the best of a breed standard, but many breeds have moved a long way from the standard.

    Fluffing around with hairspray is part of the course I am affraid.

    I feel so for that little Pekenise who had to stand on a block of ice, due to hideous breeding all for her owners ego and obsession...poor little mite.

    Nic

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    My dogs lie on cool mats and they aren't show dogs. It gets hot, thus they have cool mats and collars.

    There are people who do the right thing, it is a matter of finding them

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    Hi Occy,

    I have absolutely no doubt that there are many people out there doing the right thing.

    This article is showing the other side, which is also relevant.

    Cooling mats are not the issue. It is the fact that these dogs can not regulate their body temp without them, and this has been caused by breeding specifically for the showring...the so called perfect example of a breed, which is a long way from the standard.

    Nic

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozeymum View Post
    Agree also!

    I can't stand the show ring or the ppl...bit like parents who model their babies/children and smother them in make-up
    What an extraordinary blanket statement to make about ppl you have never clapped eyes on
    So you " cant stand me" huh? you know NOTHING of me or what i do or what i believe in so who are you to sit behind a keyboard and make such rediculaous statements? how idiotic.

    I dont agree with anyone breeding dogs in any fashion that alters their health and natural well being I have in fact had my fair share of debates regarding the BBD and the insane way its been changed over the years...I never have and never will agree with docking and cropping ( and yep ive had my fair share of debates on that topic also, given that my chosen breed is in fact cropped in other countries)

    Im an animal lover, been a Vegetarian for over 25 years, ive done rescue work with horses and farm animals for years, and ive helped on many OS campaigns to save countless wild life and abused dogs....and i SHOW DOGS so what? im a bad person???? My dogs love the interaction they get with other dogs at shows, its great for their socialization ( comes back to the DA thread too doesnt it?) and yeah i have bred Champions and im very proud of them all but i dont love them any more than my non champions and they all get treated the same... Im at a loss to see how anyone can say me spending quality time with my dogs on a weekend out showing is a bloody bad thing...
    Guess all them dogs that spend countless hours locked in their back yards home alone are so much better off arnet they? SPARE ME!

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