So there's been a great deal of fuss and drama in all aspects of the dog world lately, over the decisions made at Crufts this year. Now my point of view might be pretty skewed and maybe even ignorant, because I am not involved personally in any breeds that are A- shown, or B- part of the KC or AKC. I do know a fair bit about how shows work, and for the most part I am not impressed. I have followed PDE (Pedigree Dogs Exposed, both the tv program and the blog of the maker of the program), as well as numerous other blogs and websites of people I feel are wiser than I in dogs. Some of them are delighted at the events of Crufts, others are horrified and outraged. Me? I feel, hesitantly, that this is a good thing. I am not going to jump both feet first into either side, but I am leaning very lightly towards supporting it. I know things are done different in the UK because the KC owns the breed standards, and the AKC does not, so I am not sure where that affects this or even comes into play. But I fail to see how recognizing, and changing, that show ring fads and even the way the standard is written, has had a detrimental effect on many of the breeds we love and cherish, is BAD. Some of the naysayers of these events have pointed out that, for example, the Clumber bitch has a CERF clear certificate. Okay? The eyeball itself might be cleared of any disease, but the haw (inner membranes of the eye socket, incl inside of the eyelids themselves) are open and exposed to air. The standard CALLS FOR THIS. The standard REQUIRES that some of the haw, the mucous membranes that should not be exposed to air and foreign debris, BE OPEN AND EXPOSED TO AIR AND FOREIGN DEBRIS.
A breed standard is (supposed to be) a lofty aspiration of perfection. Its not an excuse for flaws that make a dogs life uncomfortable or downright painful. There is a huge difference between health testing and health. Someone else posted some pictures of the German Shepherd Dog that passed HIS vet check at Crufts. He also has all his health clearances, hips and elbows and so on. But his spine looks like a piece of driftwood, with a sharp hump in the middle. So his hips are the eq of OFA Excellent, but his body is built in such a way that hes hardly healthy or functional. THIS is what I feel is going to be improved by the KCs insistence on health as well as beauty. Your Basset could have great hips, great eyes, and be the most winningest Hound of all time, and still be waddling around with his sheath dragging in the dirt and incapable of traveling faster than 2 mph. There is no reason for this. He can be a beautiful typey Basset that fits the standard very closely, without the massive exaggerations that cause him pain.
This is unacceptable. Extremes of body to the point where they negatively affect the dogs quality of life is UNACCEPTABLE.
For those worried that this is just the first step in giving in to the nutjob whacko animal rights people-- I'm worried about that too!! Anything that gives them a foothold into our world scares me! But sadly in this instance, without meaning to, they are right. SOMETHING needs to be done. This is a mockery, a laughingstock, an outrage, and tragedy.
For the point that modern show has improved many breeds, and you will of course show pictures of dogs from 100 years ago and then a dog from today and point out the structural improvements-- yes! Absolutely many things have been improved! We know SO much more today about spine, angulation, hips, shoulder, neck, etc. many many things have been improved and that's fantastic! Keep going with that! But along with many of these improvements, in many breeds, have come crippling deformities. Dogs with so much extra skin that they cannot see properly. Dogs with crippled rear ends that cannot even trot, so they end up doing a strange Hyena-esque pacing. Dogs that have been made heavy and overdone to the point that they cannot get out of their own way. These are things that did not have to come along for the ride with the improvements. These are vanities, fads, and they need to GO AWAY.
(I apologize in advance for any typos or inconsistencies, I really felt I had to get this all down in text before life got ahold of me again or I lost my thoughts. )