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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From time to time I write articles on a wide variety of topics. Recently my sister suggested I do one on conformation dog shows. Now I was never really a fan of the idea in the first place, but what I learned absolutely stunned and horrified me.
I think that this sort of thing needs to be talked about and discussed so people can make choices that are both ethical and sensible when choosing a new pet.
I am also hoping to get some useful and constructive feedback regarding the issue.
Ok, here it is..


A smart dog explains the problem with conformation dog shows

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read it. If you agree it is an important issue please take a minute or three to share it with friends and family and fellow animal lovers. I think it does make a difference.
 

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canis lupus familiaris
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I'm highly neutral about them and here is why.

PROS:
BYBs and Mills won't pay out the butt to try and get confirmation titles. This means people can make better choices about getting dogs. I have no racism against accident litters in dogs (although they can be prevented quite easily) but to simply breed because "they are cute" or "they make bank" just doesn't fly with me...especially because shelters are booming out the butt with dogs. Pit bulls (the tough dogs) and chihuahuas (the cute dogs) are the top dogs found in there as of today.

Also if you are looking for particular traits for a litter, here is where you can easily find another breeder to connect with. Get tips and share experience.

CONS:
Some people are so into confirmation that they breed useless dogs. Not to offend anyone but the American German Shepherd and the "Barbie" collie are both awesome examples. AGSDs have a sloped back and, while beautiful, are more prone to problems and running slower. Why breed a sheepdog that tends to run slow? Barbie collies heard about as awesome as a morbidly obese person would heard peacocks....Yes they look alike but it doesn't mean they can do a darn thing! Normally, these would be pups sold for pets only because they would be useless in the field. Oh but no...these are pups winning championships! Basenjis are another one. Basenjis in Africa are some of the healthiest dogs one could ever meet. They may not meet the criteria for a basenji but these Africans really couldn't care less. They want work and companionship, not pretty.

Another issue is sort of reverse to the above statement...people get shot down for breeding dogs that are useful to them! My old manager's family bred heeler x border collies because the mix produced dogs that were believed to be best for their family farm. Fast AND strong plus the shorter coat kept them cooler in the summer. There are tons of farms here that use heeler x border collies or heeler x aussie shepherds. Of course they are shot down for breeding "useless" mutts.
 

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Betta Bomb
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Hm, I read most of the article but I will finish it later.. After my nap ;)

While I admit I have a limited window for my opinion, I am against "showing" dogs and putting up a label that the breed must conform to. While it is good to improve genetics and cull the mis-haps (I personally prefer to humanely euthanize since breeding is putting shelter dogs at risk anyway) I think while there is such a problem with over population we should halt these things and take care of the current situation.

Dogs were bred for a purpose. You got herders, terriers, hounds, companions and all these breeds have different needs. People need to research more into what they want. Dog shows, seemingly, breed these gorgeous well mannered shiny coated dogs and promote the breed but when someone gets one the breed isn't for them (ex- herder living in an apartment with no job to do) then they live in a shelter or are euthanized. It's the breeder's and shower's fault when it comes to responsible breeding. While some cull and promote the beed for it's purpose, many more do not. They created a problem. We need a mass steriliaztion program to put numbers down.

And I know that will cause many breeds to disappear, but do we really need them ALL?!! English bulldogs are a walking vet-debt-bill with their problems for example. I think too many people have gone out of line with dog ownership.

I guess I can't really explain myself here, I already cannot even explain my feelings on dog shows and breeding because there are so many contradictory aspects of it. (I love great danes and Matt and I want a French Mastiff) so I have a hard time justifying it bc of my overpowering love for rescue dogs. grrr.....
 

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I am very much against conformation showing & breeding.

I do not see how these dogs can be champions and standards of the breed, when they judged on either a changed appearance, or bad appearance to begin. By running around a ring. How can the standard to a Poodle be with those crazy cuts, rather than a natural look? How can a standard to a Pug be those fat things you see winning left and right, rather than a slender fit Pug? How can a German Shepherd Dog with a terrible slant back be the standard, instead of what they used to be - SQUARE? How can they be a champion when most aren't even judged on what they were bred to do? I know some dogs were not bred for a purpose besides lap dogs, but I think they could still do something - obedience for an example!

It's a sad world.
 

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They all practice obedience, the standard poodle cut was origionally for hunting, long hair on joints, and tips of the ears and head to prevent frost bite, and short hair on back and legs to prevent burs, sticks, and other debris getting stuck in it.

Honestly, i don't think it matters much anymore especially for show dogs what they are bred to do, as it isn't practical to use them anymore i do feel most show dogs are very well taken care of.
 

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Honestly, i don't think it matters much anymore especially for show dogs what they are bred to do, as it isn't practical to use them anymore i do feel most show dogs are very well taken care of.
So these "Champion" dogs should just be judged on the way they look and them trotting around a ring?

Doesn't make sense to me.

~

I would post what I am used to seeing in working poodles cutwise if I could. But I can't post links. Sure doesn't look anything like these show poodles though.

I also don't think obedience can be a qualification to be champion for a majority of breeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@Kendalle

They all practice obedience, the standard poodle cut was origionally for hunting, long hair on joints, and tips of the ears and head to prevent frost bite, and short hair on back and legs to prevent burs, sticks, and other debris getting stuck in it.

Honestly, i don't think it matters much anymore especially for show dogs what they are bred to do, as it isn't practical to use them anymore i do feel most show dogs are very well taken care of.
Very interesting on the history of the poodle cut, I actually did not know that!
As far as the rest of it, I am not saying that dogs should only be bred for work, but rather that in the past because the criteria was work (over looks) that there was much more genetic diversity happening.
As far as treatment at dog shows, I think a huge number of people you might find at a dog show, love their dogs and treat the individual animals well. However, in terms of the big picture they are doing the animals a terrible disservice.

@Purple-Hops
Hm, I read most of the article but I will finish it later.. After my nap
Wellllllll? Didjya like it huh?

@Blacksheep
Some people are so into confirmation that they breed useless dogs.
Again, I don't think it is so much a matter of utility here as it is the fact of inbreeding depression.

@All: Thanks for starting to put up some good and really interesting comments! Huge thanks to any and all of you who have shared the article on your blogs and Facebook and what not!
 

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My sister used to watch the AKC and I seen the dogs wagging their tails and gaining rewards for their good behavior and stuff. I don't know what their life is like is at home prepping for the next "pagaent" but I'm just not into it. I like the types of dogs that people wouldn't want in a show ring. Mutts are my favorite breed bc they are sometimes less inclined to the breed-specific health problems (if you get a Heinz 57 :p ) and are IMO more unique dogs. Kennel pageants are more or less just a money grab and a place to show off your perfect dogs. Not my thing, but.... Whatever.
 

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Yea, i'm not too interested in the shows either, and have no desire to have a show dog, but i'm not really 100% opposed to them as they do try to breed healthy lines as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
but i'm not really 100% opposed to them as they do try to breed healthy lines as well.
Well they might intend to, but the very practice of breeding to conformation standards is dangerous due to the inbreeding.

Kennel pageants are more or less just a money grab and a place to show off your perfect dogs.
A very dodgy definition of perfect I'd say. ;-)
 

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:p Well "perfect" as in looks. It's only looks. After watching half that YT doc posted to the article I am sickened by the fact that illness is seen as a "standard" in cases like the Cavalier K.C Spaniel, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and German Shepherd. My 14 year old dog with arthritis has better hind legs than those poor sheps. :( These illnesses are being bred into the line rather than out of. Look at pugs and Bull terriers..... Mutants. There are less good genetics now than ever. And the inbreeding. Oh god. The inbreeding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well "perfect" as in looks. It's only looks. After watching half that YT doc posted to the article I am sickened by the fact that illness is seen as a "standard" in cases like the Cavalier K.C Spaniel, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and German Shepherd. My 14 year old dog with arthritis has better hind legs than those poor sheps. These illnesses are being bred into the line rather than out of. Look at pugs and Bull terriers..... Mutants. There are less good genetics now than ever. And the inbreeding. Oh god. The inbreeding.
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Hey purple hops! Sorry it took me so long to respond but I think i got distracted. I must say I agree with you and that bottom line is that more genetic diversity is needed.
 
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