I have made the decision that my next dog will come from working lines but even I don't think that means all show line breeders breed rubbish dogs.
I don't like absolute statements - you're 100% right, it depends entirely on what the breeders are breeding for. The difficulty is that if the only thing they do with their dogs is show them - ie, if the only grounds on which they are assessed is their confirmation in a show ring, well, I would argue that there is the potential for the other attributes of the dog to suffer with each successive generation. If you happen to be a breeder who shows your dogs and also competes in Schutzhund and you only bred the dogs that could achieve Sch3 titles, well, I would again argue that you would end up with very different dogs than the ones bred by the guy who just shows his dogs. I focus on these breeds because they're the breeds I love. But even when I look at some of the other breeds in the show rings I can see quite obviously that breeding to conform to the standard has been detrimental to their working ability - eg basset hounds etc.
People can breed for as many traits as they like - I would have no issue with a breeder that tested health, intelligence and looks (ie showed their dogs). My only concern is with the breeders who only breed for looks (and unfortunately I have met many more of the latter) - I certainly don't group all breeders either of purebreds or mixed breeds under the same umbrella.
I'm sorry but if your breed standard produces the pug head, the dachsy back/leg ratio, the almost guaranteed veterinary intervention, (ie ceasarian births), to be able to produce your high placing show winners, then almost anything is preferable. Look at the working pug at the turn of the century, look at the bulldog then. What is done in the name of breed standards and show wins is cynicism in extremis, in the 21st century.
Well I had an interesting thing happen a few weeks ago (before Sammy was hit by a car ) I had a doberman owner, shower and breeder come and make a negative comment about Sammy. Now this is not unusual from Doberman breeders, or indeed the breeders of any purebred dog as of course he's not pure and he's deliberately bred. But what was strange was the comment she made. You'll note that a purebred doberman will ideally fit into a square - ie the height is equal to the length of the dog. Sammy has a shape more like a 'natural' dog, by which I mean the shape dogs tend to have if left in the wild, more rectangular like a wolf. Sammy is extremely fast and I always thought it was his springy long back (like a cheetah, or greyhound) that helped him achieve his crazy speeds. Well this lady told me otherwise. She told me that my dog would get Wobbler's disease, as according to her, it's the dobermans with longer backs (ie the non-square ones) that are afflicted. For anyone unfamiliar with this condition, it's where the dog's vertebrae fuse together resulting in the dog being unable to use its hind legs and having to be put down. It is a common affliction of the doberman breed - I have known many with it Most that I've known were show winners or the offspring of show winners and so interestingly, have a perfect square shape which according to this well-known breeder should have protected them from this condition. The AKC breed description -"The appearance is that of a dog of medium size, with a body that is square. The height, measured vertically from the ground to the highest point of the withers, equaling the length measured horizontally from the forechest to the rear projection of the upper thigh."
She advised me not to let him run, and watch for early signs. To her credit, she was extremely knowledgeable about the treatment options which she proceeded to take me through. Of course though there is no cure for this disease, and ultimately Sammy was doomed. Now as everyone here knows, Sammy is very important to me and this news was upsetting for me to hear - this lady has been showing dobermans forever and is considered an expert within the breed and so I was very worried about her warnings. So worried in fact that I went straight home and starting reading every academic peer reviewed article I could find on the subject. And unfortunately for her, though very fortunately for Sammy, she proved to be entirely off the mark. Repeated studies utilising the scientific method have now proved beyond doubt that there is a relationship between the 'squareness' of the doberman and Wobblers/Disc Associated Cervical Spondylomyelopathy. And yet, this squareness, like the ridge on the ridgebacks, the curve on the GSD's, the squashed face of the pug and the dwarfism of Dachshund is deliberately bred for and in some cases (such as the curvy backs of the GSD's) exaggerated further with each successive generation. And with this as just one example, the breeders often have no idea that what they are doing is completely detrimental to the health of the individual dogs and the breeds on the whole.
For anyone who is interested, google doberman square and Disc Associated Cervical Spondylomyelopathy and you'll find enough reading to keep you going all night.
As a non- GSD, pug, dashund, ridgeback owner......I find it a little irritating that you throw all of us who love purebreds in with the breeds that have so many problems....there are so many purebreds out there that have been bred to their standard that have continuously tried to improve the dogs health and have followed their standard....they are old breeds that are bred for their ability, their conformation and character. Do not throw all pure breed breeders in the same basket......Some are very determined to improve their breed and to reduce health problems in their breeds. their breeds are not bred by purposely breeding genetic problems. And those breeds are the larger percentage of pure bred dogs....they too should be acknowledged for what they are.
Pets are forever
I do not accept that the quality of dogs can be maintained (let alone improved) when the sole means by which they are assessed and how breeding animals are selected is by their success at dog shows.
I also think though that in the defense of some breeders, some are looking to do the right thing and honestly believe that they are. This other woman who breeds her square dobermans cares deeply about the breed and just has no idea that being square comes with consequences.
I still think that if you went to shows, you would see the majority are still sound dogs...I also am really interested in dogs well-being and improved breeding and so are many people I meet on the show circuit. And so do some of the Judges.........Not all are tainted. And by being out there I know.......my male newfie is a good sound example of a Newfoundland dog, health tested and elbow/hips. Also very true to standard, where it says they should have an oily coarse coat. I take him to only a few shows, mainly specialty or where larger numbers are...........Even though he is not pretty coated and fully fluffed ( like a lot of show newfies) , he has won under many different Judges, even the group...........I am not a well known showy, only flit in and out. But there are fair Judges out there who can see motion/action in a dog. And Judge the dog for what he is, a powerful working dog.
I think we should keep an open mind on breeders and Judges...just like with anything there are always those who are there only for themselves ( or their click) or the prize......But not all. And I will still respect most. I still think the majority of Pure breed breeders and Judges are fine.
But that is my opinion and I believe just always in giving the other side......I can see the other side, because I am not with the in crowd, just attend and enjoy
Pets are forever
I find this conversation intersting as I am going to buy a PB bulldog. I worry about how the breed has developed over the years and don't like some of the outcomes such as needing assisted birth and the breathing issues. However I have been hanging around the dog shows making a nuisance of myself and I choose the breeder I want by assessing the health and structure of her dogs. While there where some other breeders with dogs panting after a quick sprint around the ring her's on the other hand where stocky but not fat, very agile and active with no sign of panting or drooling after a brisk trott. Yet at the same time her dogs consistently win on looks and performance.
I understand that breeding just for a particular look without any regard for long term health has produced a dog with a natural tendency towards health problems, however I also believe that if you do your homework and find a good breeder you will find that they are being to address those issues and breed for health and temperment. i think it will be interesting to see how the bulldog breed changes over time as I think that good breeders are really making an effort to bred out some of the inherent genetic weaknesses, which may result in the fashion changing to a slightly different body shape. In the meantime I think it is good to buy from a reputable registered breeder as then you have a much better idea of the genetic make up of the dog and avoid any issues of supporting puppy mills.
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