Over the years one comment that seems to be regurgitated a lot is that kennel clubs are to blame when a breed is lacking. I would like to dissect this comment a bit. First let's start with what is a kennel club? A kennel club is an organization for canine affairs that concerns itself with the breeding, showing and promotion of more than one breed of dog. Who makes up a kennel club? Breed enthusiasts who want to campaign and produce dogs who fit the breed standard. Who has control over breed standard and any changes within that breed? The enthusiasts, which can also be said that popularity within the breed can also shape changes.
Full circle, the kennel club is not who makes changes to the breed. Popularity and enthusiasts do, if you do not like a direction a breed is going how do you change it?
You get involved, show up and make your voice known. Placing blame on a organization is silly and will not create the momentum needed to get others on board. Finding individuals who are after the same outcome is always the fastest way to a goal.
This is another astute observation from our friend at
#Mastini Kennels. Thank you Jessica.
You are correct in your observation and definition of the breed clubs. Shall we suppose that the breed clubs are made up mostly of breed enthusiasts and breeders? If that supposition is correct then, I think the breed clubs do bear some responsibility for the state of their represented breeds by wielding influence over the breeds and sanctioning the actions and choices of judges which then drives breeders and owners into a certain direction.
One area that is of interest to me it the temperament of the dogs represented. I can point to several breeds (
#Caucasian, #CAO, #Fila Brasileiro, #presa canario, #Boerboel, etc.) whose temperaments are for the most part "softened". In some cases, these former working dogs are being softened for the pet owner market which drives demand, and drives breeders, and clubs to adjust their expectations... (my thoughts - not substantiated) and thus affects the breed. This is a word salad as I am jet lagging right now.. :)
Anyway, @mastini-mayhem, @Mastini Mayhem Kennel I do agree with your assessment and wanted to share my thoughts in hopes that others will comment. I hope the new year is a great one for all our
The kennel clubs aren't to blame, the work dying out is to blame. The kennel clubs serve as a bloodbank preserving the DNA of working dogs. Sometimes it can be frustrating what they do with it, but the reality is that without them the DNA would be totally lost.
From Rossettes to Ruin
E.L. Hagedoorn, a Dutch consulting geneticist to dog breed societies around the world, believed the show ring would ruin working dog breeds, and time has proven him right. As he noted in his 1939 book:
"In the production of economically useful animals, the show ring is more of a menace than an aid to breeding. Once fancy points are introduced into the standard of perfection, the breeders will give more attention to those easily judged qualities than to the more important qualities that do not happen to be of such a nature that we can evaluate them at shows. Showing has nothing to do with utility at all, it is simply a competitive game."
A noted breeder of alpacas said much the same thing, noting that when farm stock is judged on the basis of wool or meat it is a different standard than that used at shows:
"Breeding animals for the shows is a very peculiar business, because of the fact that it is wholly competitive. Whereas the breeder of utility sheep or utility pigs produces something that has a certain market value, which is not changed very much even if ten of his neighbors start in with him to raise the same sort of sheep or hogs, breeding animals for the shows can only pay the man who succeeds in producing such stock as is pronounced by the judges of the moment to be the most beautiful and the most fashionable."
I do not blame breed club or the show ring. I believe breed enthusiasts should take more of the blame. I have heard many people say that they want to improve the breed. That statement is on their website. I have been guilty of saying that as well.
I'm no longer guilty of making that statement. To imply you want to improve the breed that says you find some fault in the breed. It implies that the breed needs changes.
There a well known breeder in Canada that breed Presa Canario. He doesn't Show his dogs. But he is influenced the direction of the breed. He breeds for size. He is on the excessive size. He advertises that a Presa is supposed to this size. His dogs are superior. Then the average consumer start believing the Presa is supposed to be this excessive size dog. You have other breeders that began to say the same thing. Then they start breeding towards that goal. People begin looking for the huge dogs. They have completely left the functions of the Presa. I should say they ignorantly choose looks over function.
Saying this huge dog is a better working dog is ridiculous. I'd say get a English Mastiff or Bull Mastiff. Not a Presa. The Presa does have size enough to do the job it was created to do. It was a catch dog. If it is being bred to be a much larger dog it can't do the work that they were originally bred to do. His main stud was so big it couldn't jump into the back of his pickup bed.
They are bred as personal protection dogs are guardians. Yes the huge dog looks good in your yard. But when it is tested it hits the sleeve hard. But in personal protection seconds count. It could mean life or death. Seconds can determine that a child is safe or a child is kidnapped.
I was at a dog show. One day was for the show. The next day was for the temperament. This young dog was excessive. A Spanish judge told the owner that. The dog hadn't reach full maturity and will get bigger. We are doing the working events. Testing dogs for protection. This dog I believe hit the sleeve the hardest that day. But it took so long to get there. I could have taken a nap before it got there. The owner would have been injured or killed. The kid would have been taken.
The breed club didn't change the breed. These breeders or enthusiasts drove the change and implementation of the change. The desire to improve the breed.
There will always be evolution. Dogs are changing over time. But we should in my opinion try to maintain the standards of a breed. Unfortunately people aren't familiar with the standards or want to improve "change" the breed.