Posted by: jility | June 6, 2013

In Defense of AKC

There is nobody more disgusted with the state of purebred dogs today than I am. What breeders have done to the Poodle, the German Shepherd, the Doberman, the Bulldog, the Bull Terrier, the Pekinese, the Shar Pei and so many more breeds, is revolting!

GSD cowhockedIn the not so distant future, the Poodle’s neck and tail will come out of the same hole on the back. They will have no idea where they are going because they will be staring straight up to the sky and they will have very little ability to go anywhere because of their extreme structure! The German Shepherd is nothing more than a caricature of its once magnificent self. How do breeders expect them to work all day when they can barely walk? When they do walk, it is on their hocks (which, for the most part, knock together!).

The Poodle was once a magnificent all around working dog! They hunted, herded, hiked and hauled carts. They were a medium sized dog with a bombproof temperament. Now, sadly, many are spooky, gigantic messes with no ability to swim or hunt or herd or much of anything else except parade around a show ring. They have been reduced to absurdly built coat racks full of dye, hairspray and wigs. How on earth is that an improvement over those grand working dogs from the late 1800s and early 1900s?

The bulldog can barely walk or breathe and are incapable of giving birth naturally. Please tell me how that is better than the moderate Bulldog that was used to jump up and grab the nose of a bull and be athletic enough to get out of the way and have puppies on its own?

The Border Collie is a working dog. They are supposed to come in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter as long as they do their job well. The show Border Collies all look exactly alike. They look like little cloned cookie cutter dogs with no drive. When I see them at shows, I think of Stepford wives marching along compliantly, no questions asked and no spark in their eyes. The legs on the show Border Collie are getting shorter and shorter with each generation while the coats are getter longer and longer and their bone bigger and bigger. Soon we will be looking at Cousin It trotting around the Border Collie ring! It took no time at all to transform a great, functional, high drive working dog into a show ring zombie. Thank GOD there are still MANY breeders who understand what it takes to produce great working dogs with herding instinct intact and with pure love for the work.

I could go on and on and really wish breeders would objectively look at what they are doing to the dogs! I have heard from many that they are “improving” the breeds! WHAT??? How can they look at the original dogs and not see how ridiculous most breeds look today in comparison?

All one needs to do is look at the progressions of the GSD to truly understand that things went horribly wrong for this breed!

http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/siegershow_winners.html

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. If a grotesque three headed alien made of slime flew in from outer space, chances are pretty good we would find it quite unattractive. If, however, that is what we grew up with and the ONLY thing we ever saw, chances are pretty dang good we would find it beautiful! Some of you old folks will remember that Twilight Zone episode where a woman keeps undergoing plastic surgery because she is considered grotesque on her planet. You never see the doctors and nurses until the unveiling when you see this beautiful person under those bandages surrounded by grossed out ugly aliens.

http://youtu.be/xHp9q3QTmVQ

I know my view is not popular with many of the show ring set, but it is my view. I used to show dogs forty years ago and I had that same mindset that the show dogs were the only true purebred dogs of any value. Then, through many years of experience, I learned the truth about performance and structure.

So what does my rant on the destruction of purebred dogs have to do with defending AKC?

How many times have you heard or read somebody’s opinion that they refuse to support AKC because of the structural and health issues found in today’s purebred dogs? I know many people who refuse to participate in AKC agility because of those reasons. I completely disagree!

Why?

Blaming AKC for the state of the purebred dog is like blaming the DMV for crappily made cars! The DMV doesn’t make those cars and AKC doesn’t set the standards or tell the breeders what to breed! All they do is keep the records!!! I don’t understand why people can’t see that!

AKC is an organization, not the breed police. They publish the breed standards that are WRITTEN by the breed clubs! If people want to boycott anything, boycott the breed clubs! It is THEY who have turned the dogs into what we see today! NOT AKC!

The best way to create change is through education. Boycotting alone will not educate. People need to realize what is happening to our wonderful dog breeds for the sake of a ribbon and work to change things. Sadly, many breed organizations, like the Poodle Club of America for instance, are closed to new membership. The only way to join is through sponsorship of a current member. That is like leaving Dracula in charge of the blood bank! As long as Dracula is running the show, things will never change for the better. They will only continue to get worse!

If judges only put up sound dogs capable of working at their intended job, they would never get hired! Judges put up what the breeders present to them in the ring. These are the same breeders who educate the judges. There’s that Dracula/blood bank thing again!

Sadly, unless people work their dogs at the very highest levels in performance, they would not know what it takes to make a great working dog! Trotting around a ring is certainly no indication that a dog is capable of working hard in the field, or swimming tirelessly or running down a gazelle in the desert! Trotting will never guarantee any of those things! As a matter of fact, most highly successful hunting sighthounds are not attractive movers at the trot, but they can gallop like nobody’s business! I have seen the same with Border Collies. A great working Border Collie is not necessarily a beautiful trotter!

If the show type dogs were the best at their intended jobs, THAT is the type of dog the working folks would be using. They are not and for good reason!

So the next time you hear somebody bashing AKC, please remind them that they are just the record keepers, not the breeders. Tell them to go to the source to complain and try to make changes! Good luck though, those show ribbons are evidently incredibly dear.

PS.

There are plenty of other breeds in big trouble as well but I can only piss off so many people at one time :).

Helen Grinnell King

www.recipetowin.com


Responses

  1. I am confused as to why you included the Doberman unless you’re talking about European show lines. The Doberman Pinscher has no real extremes in its conformation that prevent it from working or being athletic. My service dog is a Doberman from primarily Canadian, American and South American show lines.
    The biggest issues with the dobe are health related, but those have always been there in the breed. Some might argue that their temperament is no longer suited to protection work but the DPCA read created the WAC for that purpose- and though my girl comes from show lines she’s showing promising aptitude for French ring. French ring is probably the best suited to dobermans naturally but ring sport clubs are rare and few and far between, far more eclipsed by IPO (which is not that suited to dobes and was never intended to be, so if that’s what we are using to measure the doberman’s working aptitude then of course it gives the false impression that their working capacity has diminished. Meanwhile police forces in South America still overwhelmingly use them…)

  2. The judges are chosen or appointed by AKC. AKC is at fault rewarding extremes. I asked a Shepherd breeder if the goal was to have a dog that imitates a Tenn. Walking Horse and she said, “exactly!” which is disgusting when puppies are down on their pasterns practically crawling on the ground cuz they can’t walk. I cried the last time I ever watched a show. DONE WITH THAT. Now talk about cats. The Russian Blue was a heavy duty full round headed cat that has turned into a silver Siamese. That’s totally WRONG. My mom used to show Russians and became disgusted with the judging. So it’s not just dogs. It’s all the breeds, including cats. The judges have no idea what they’re looking at or doing. They seem pretty ignorant of the dog’s working capabilities and only reward on LOOKS.

  3. I disagree 100%!!!!!!!!!!! More! 10000%. AKC supplies the judges. When the judges reward these breeds than the other breeders jump on board. It is totally AKC’s fault. 99% of them are political and judge the faces not the dogs. If AKC would control the politics and demand the judges judge by the breed standard instead of who is holding the lead it would go a long way to stopping this!!!!

  4. Why have you thrown bull terriers into a list of ruined breeds? They are healthier now than they have ever been. Yes, we have bred them to have a curved profile, but how has that affected anything but their looks? It hasn’t. Lots of show bred BTs do very well in the agility ring and barn hunt. They make fabulous pets. They may not look anything like the dogs of the 20’s and 30’s but we also no longer breed generations upon generations of whites to whites which resulted in a lot of deafness. Most of us now have the tools to screen for bad hearts and kidneys before we breed, and we BAER test all puppies. I’m tired of the criticism of my breed just because someone doesn’t like the Roman nose.

  5. Dead on

  6. I am a Standard Poodle breeder & am in touch with several other breeders. Not a one of them are pleased with several facts concerning the arrogant AKC. They should be shown in the Sporting Group, for they were bred primarily for retrieving downed waterfowl. They originated in Germany over 1000 years ago. They are forced to be shown in that faggy looking “Continental cut after their first birthday. Too damned bad the arrogant AKC is basically the major leagues, whereas the UKC is very much a fun group. What the AKC competitors have done to the GSD is in my view criminal!!! But – what the hell can we do?

  7. I have to agree that many of the show line breeds listed have changed over the years with several negative attributes while their field trial counterparts have mostly remained the same. I would say those changes were influenced by Judges picking certain attributes but breeders made the decision to make those changes in their lines. I watched a few video’s of English Bulldogs from the 30’s and they looked very much the same as they do now. There are several responsible Bulldog breeder’s who test their dogs for genetic issues to obtain clearances prior to breeding as well as breed and deliver pups naturally without C-sections. I live in Florida and our AC in the house is kept at 77 degree’s. Our bulldogs do better with the heat because they are acclimated to the warmer weather. Dogs like people get use to certain environmental conditions. Our bulldogs are from conformation lines but they were breed to produce healthy dogs and they often play with and chase our field trial labs and beagles who can really move. Our bullies are very athletic, they love to romp around, splash in a kiddie pool, etc. We are very blessed.

  8. I question your knowledge regarding the bulldog breed. If it were possible to take your sample from 40 years ago and compare my sample of today I would hands down win that bet. You are ignorant to the quality bred bulldog of today. Do you even KNOW the standard? Or are you too busy passing judgement based on all the puppy mill and backyard breeders poor quality bulldogs pumping out puppies to make a buck?
    AKC is in complete control of THEIR dog shows. They are the ones awarding dogs championships based on the written standard.
    You need to spend more time with the dogs and less time in front of your computer drinking the media koolaid. You have lost all perspective.

  9. You could not be more wrong about the bulldog. I have several generations of bulldogs who can run, jump and swim !! They are exception breathers and movers. I breed for conformation. The bulldog club of America standard but I also breed for health as do most show breeders. There are very few people who show who are not health testing their dogs. I would say Bulldogs are much healthier than they were 10 years ago and as for not being able to breed you could not be more wrong. They can mate naturally and they can whelp naturally. It has been the vets who don’t want to get a call in the middle of the night if there is trouble who have pushed the C-section much like doctors did with woman 10 years ago. KNOW YOUR FACTS

    • That’s crap.

  10. The responsible breeders of the Bulldog refuse to allow you to continue spreading the lies.
    The bulldog club of America’s written standard calls for a strong and vigorous animal.
    I have 5 generations of Bulldogs with multiple OFA clearances (cardiac, patella, trachea, thyroid, hips, elbows) Including several Platinum level BCA health Ambassadors (5 or more clearances).
    Bulldogs not only participate in conformation events but also in competitive obedience, rally, agility, lure coursing, barn hunt and dock diving.
    Healthy and active is not just a possibility. It is reality for 10’s of thousands of Bulldogs across the country.

  11. My Bulldogs are healthy and happy companion dogs that can run, swim and BREATHE….

  12. this is WHY,, i think all dogs should have a working title BEFORE they get their “CH” to prove they can still do the WORK they were bred to do..
    and if they were bred to be a companion then there should be a row of little old ladies with lap dogs on their lap, proving they can do it..
    i have poodles,, and i WISH the showing of AKC poodles was more like the UKC shows..
    good people are speaking up

    • My toy poodles are still only bred when they have titles on both ends of the name. Therapy visits with my toys are also important to me. Not just lap dogs. Breeders need to be conscious of all three varieties.

    • so Poms were bred to be a companion. what other test would they need to pass? Chihuahuas? Havanese, etc etc etc. not ALL dos were bred for a job. Take the pekenese for example. I cam imagine a exam where they are paraded about hidden in the robes of royalty…

  13. I agree with most of what you said well almost all. Yes, AKC cannot police breeders but they can police their judges. There are many judges that place dogs that are not within the standard, whether it is what they want or peer pressure. In different parts of the country different types are showing up in the breeds. AKC can enforce the standard by doing judge evaluations. If a judge or judges are picking dogs outside the they can be given a warning then have other consequences. AKC can also put on judges clinics as AQHA does where they could go over go over breed standards and have mock classes so that everyone is on the same page.
    Picking Pedigreedatabase for your example pictures are not accurate as the link is to German Showline dogs not AKC dogs. The German Showline dogs have to have working titles to get their top conformation titles. The Sieger and Siegerin have their working titles as well as their endurance test and their breed survey. They may not be as strong and driven as a working line dog, but they do work.

    • Very good point. I have an Aussie (an actual working Aussie) that’s is often overlooked in the show ring. He meets breed standard but is often overlooked for some overweight, slow moving dog that wouldn’t know what to do if a sheep jumped up and bit him on the nose.

  14. But it is AKC that refuses to revoke and refuse registration of dogs labeled as Labrador Retrievers that ARE NOT an approved (by breed stanard) such as silver, charcoal and champagne.
    The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. Has issued a statement these off color dogs are not pure bred, yet AKC allows them to be FALSELY registered as an approved color. We have been trying for years to get an answer, unfortunately our answer seems to be… $$$$$

    • just like in poodles.. NO SUCH THING as a merle poodle or husky,, they ARE MIXES
      ,, the owners LIE to get paperwork on them

    • The Germans have absolutely disqualified WHITE shepherds from being called “German Shepherds”/ They are called White Shepherds period. There isn’t supposed to be any light or white colors in the dogs. The best breeders keep going back to using blacks to deepen the color and make beautiful black/tan, or sable dogs. The AKC did NOTHING about this, the German Survey judges did it. So far as AKC is concerned all they really do is handle registration of dogs. They are pretty ignorant of ‘looks’ and ‘working ability”.

  15. This is not worth anyone’s time. It is an opinion with nothing to make it true. Sorry people make open opinions with nothing to back them up. SILLY.

    • Actually, reading what you just wrote wasn’t worth my time. And as far as truth goes, what color is the sky in your world?

  16. There is no defense for the AKC ! Period. All a breeder needs is two pieces of paper to get tbeir dogs registered. One registration paper from each parent. Then tbe AKC holds “glamour” shows and picks a winner. Breeders hurry to breed junk based on what they see. In Germany for both horses and dogs, its not enough to have a pieve of paper staing youe breed registration. Breeding animals must prove themselves in performance trials. Form follows function.

  17. One thing I didn’t see in any of the comments here is the fact that a judge – for any breed – has a written standard for the breed he’s evaluating, but that translates into his personal mental picture of the perfect specimen. Is there any written breed standard that is clear enough to be interpreted absolutely, to the level that all judges should be able to “stick to the standard” and award the same entries? I don’t think so! Standard descriptions such as “medium eye”, “moderate bone”, “sturdy”, “generous”, etc., result in different interpretations from different judges… What exactly is medium, moderate, etc.? Without totally exact and exclusionary restrictions – such as height, weight, measurable features – there exists the reality that everyone’s mental picture and understanding of the perfect specimen will not be the same. The breeder, attempting to produce the perfect (insert breed here), does the same thing – interprets the standard’s written words – and the result is distinct “lines”, “types”, “Kennel recognition” – but that doesn’t mean any or all are incorrect! Extremes are what people are protesting, I think, but the evolution of breeds from 50+ years ago to now is not all negative…

  18. if the judges stopped rewarding this kind of breeding stock the breeding stock would improve.

    • AMEN! My thoughts exactly.

  19. Thank you those are my sentiments exactly

  20. i just LOVE how every time someone dares to speak the truth about what is happening to our pure bred dogs, someone accuses them of being an AR activist just to shut them up. Don’t listen to that crap!

  21. It’s all inter-related. Judges put up handlers in part because they bring large entries. Clubs book judges who will pull large entries. Owners hire handlers because they can win with nice but not spectacular entries. And in some breeds (mine is one) it is virtually impossible for an amateur to scissor, band and spray-up with the skill of a professional. It is a shame that the list of breeds that are “handler breeds” grows every year. The actual dog is getting lost in all this.

  22. Of course the AKC is responsible for the sorry state of affairs with show-bred dogs. The AKC sits at the hub of the wheel of the American show culture. The AKC licenses the pretender judges who pick the “winners.” The AKC decides the requirements for the holy “Champion” title (a misnomer if ever there was one), including the fact that there are no points for health, temperament or function. The AKC registers any dog that meets its (very looses) requirements and admits them to the compete in shows, no matter how inbred they are. The AKC could fix all of the above, but chooses not to.

    • Not the AKC’s function nor purpose. People just do not understand the AKC is a database – an ongoing written record – of information submitted by individuals certifying the details of animals they have bred. AKC is not in a position – nor should it be! – to tell people how to breed or what to breed (other than animals of the same registered breed)… They do try to sanction/punish breeders, and take measures to restore the validity of the records when they become aware of fraud or misinformation. They have made requirements – such as DNA records of stud dogs frequently used – to help preserve the truth of the pedigree records. In order to achieve the conformation title of Champion, that dog IS evaluated for health, temperament, function by the very fact that its health is displayed by conditioning/coat quality, etc. – temperament is evaluated by its actions, and (depending on the breed’s standard requirements, which varies by breed) poor temperament results in dismissal from the ring and potentially future entries – the potential to properly function can be evaluated by the physical factors required to perform the breed’s purpose, i.e., gait, depth of chest, balance of front to rear, correct coat, etc. I personally believe there SHOULD be some type of meaningful and uniform requirement to demonstrate correct instincts such as herding, tracking, etc. I suppose, though, that would raise red flags with the “working/field” people, who might then have to pay more attention to their own interpretations of the physical standards for the breed.. If it doesn’t look like the breed is supposed to, that’s not acceptable either!

  23. I think some professional handlers and groomers are to blame for part of this. There are breeds which I believe are supposed to have a minimum of tidying up and natural coats which now are groomed and prettified beyond reason.

  24. Pulling out my soapbox to stand on to give YOU, Helen Grinnel King a HUGE standing ***O***👏👏👏 ‼️‼️

  25. I have a Sheltie who just missed being show quality – grew oversize by a fraction of an inch. In terms of what a show Sheltie generally looks like, her bone is enough but a bit light by show standards and her body isn’t as square. She has a nice lean head but it isn’t quite a blocky as current show stock. She has a nice flowing coat but not dripping with it…overall, she is a lovely moderate dog.
    Structurally she is beautifully built, runs like the wind, has tons of drive, stable temperment, is super smart, and the other night at agility class, she easily cleared a 22 inch jump and tire from a standing start. She does agility, canine freestyle, trick dog, pulls a cart, is a therapy visiting dog, and does lure coursing (loves it!) and flyball. In a few weeks, we’re attending a herding instinct test.
    I could see her herding sheep and doing other tasks around the farm – but due to her being a 1/8th of an inch too tall, she isn’t in the Sheltie gene pool.
    BTW, her slightly older half sister – who is an identical dog structurally – just qualified for two agility world teams…but she is also a tiny fraction oversize and is out of the gene pool.

    • But if she is otherwise an excellent example of a sheltie, why would breeders not breed her! Just breed to a smaller male and you’d probably get nice pups within standard size. Why do people feel every dog needs a CH title to be breed worthy? They should be looking at what the dog contributed to the breed and not just breeding on titles.

    • She does not need to be out of the gene pool just because she dies not get a ch title. She may produce oversize pups but if the function of the breed is most important, she should contribute.

  26. I agree 100%, I found a little dog and he is mixed. He is part Schnauzer and dachshund. He has the feet,, and long body of a dachshund but a face, legs, eye brows from the Schnauzer. He’s not as tall as a Schnauzer but not as short as a dachshund. He is a beautiful dog but has had alot of health problems. I also have 2 miniature poodles. One is taller than the other and is having trouble with her sockets staying in place when she walks. The vet says they have never seen a miniature poodle this tall. I have papers on them both but don’t know what happened here. Please people quit mixing breeds.

    • Teresa, your little mixed mutt (Schnauzer/dachshund) is simply the result of a careless, thoughtless accident or, worse, someone’s idea of making money with a new “designer” breed – Schnauzhund? Your two poodles are not “mixing breeds”, but sound more like the result of careless or ignorant breeding. Either way, these are different issues than this article is talking about. “Papers” have never been any indication of quality or value – only a reflection of the heritage information submitted to AKC for recordkeeping. AKC can’t control careless breeding and that is not AKC’s purpose, but they DO investigate and punish cases where fraudulent information has been submitted for their records…

  27. If judges didn’t put up these dogs, and instead gave placements to more “normal” types, then breeders would revert back to original standards.

    • I agree with you here also.

    • Agreed

    • Unfortunately, they would only do it once or twice before they would not be invited to judge anymore. 😕
      Like presidential nominees, they bow before $ pressure, as do the all breed clubs. They need to attract entries to survive…

  28. You have said what I have been telling people for years. My daughter doesn’t even know what German Shepard used to look like. I hate how they have bred them down for police dogs. It is horrible and painful on the dogs. They use to be tall, strong and fast.

    • This isn’t accurate at all. The GSD was never a huge breed. Bitches are to be 22-24″ tall and males 24-26″ tall. A Doberman should be taller than a GSD.

      And the SV (German) standard calls for a dog that is actually slightly *shorter* than the AKC standard

      • Their back hips have been bred to be smaller than their front hips. Which make them appear smaller and have have issues that didn’t appear before. The German Shepherd is not the same as it was years ago.

        Please read this article about what I am referring to with the changes.

    • The police 99% of the time import. Thats why those dogs work till and older age.. They do no use american bred dogs for that reason. The bad hips and cant work cause of structure.

    • If you can’t even spell the name correctly, why should I value your opinion?

  29. Makes me very sad to see show goldens and labs that look like stuffed sausages on very short legs…most couldn’t work in the field for even an hour let alone a day long hunt

    • I agree, but – what do the field goldens and labs look like? Are they being bred to conform to the written standard also? I would really like both “sides” to come together (unlikely!) to breed dogs that both look like and perform like their distinct breed. The standard is, and always has been, open to individual interpretation and to everyone’s mental picture of the written description… The “original” old-time dogs of different breeds everyone laments weren’t necessarily all desirable, either – Dogs by definition are evolving creatures, and that’s the issue whether good or bad… Their purpose has also morphed in many cases, also, and maybe that’s a different issue? Should a breed be allowed to go “extinct” because there just aren’t enough people hunting wolves or bears, or chasing foxes any more? Or – is it OK to breed wolfhounds, or mastiffs, terriers, etc. that are temperamentally fit to live with regular people in modern society? Is that distortion of the original purpose (and probably features) OK, or should that breed just die out because its original purpose isn’t practical or desirable any more? Everything evolves and adapts over time… Otherwise, we’d all be listening to wolves howl at the door instead of our dogs barking at the mailman!

  30. Amen!

  31. My question is simple.
    Are you a member of an animal activist group? Sure sounds like it to me!
    You are just a bit too vocal about specific breeds mentioned in your piece, rather mirrors that of the likes of PETA and the Humane Society both of which are known for similar and worse outbursts.
    If you intend to as you say “pis people of” you are doing a fine job! Be careful it does not bite you in the arse !

    • LOL. Welcome to my world.

    • Helen (who is no longer with us) was a very good judge of canine and equine structure as well as a breeder of champion dogs and avid performance participant and author. She is spot on about those breeds that have changed so much that they can no longer do the work they were bred for. Note how much she talks about working dogs. PETA and HSUS don’t want you to own dogs, let alone work them. You missed the whole point here.

      • Thank you for pointing out the truth about working ability of the dogs . WeHaveMalamutes ,and the changes I have seen (not for the better) are scary.

    • sounds like they are a realist

  32. The AKC does not set the Standard of Excellence for each recognized breed. The Standard of Excellence is a blueprint, a word picture in writing of the ideal dog of that breed. The Standard of Excellence was devised by breeders and hunters and performance people as an energy conservation package to allow the dog to do his job in the most efficient and effective manner possible. The Standard of Excellence has a purpose not to have every dog look alike but to guide wise breeders to select for the most desirable qualities that will insure the dog is sound in body and mind. The Standard of Excellence is written by the standard committee members of the dog club. The AKC can advise the Standard committee on issues such as how to deal with faults in the breed, but the Standard Committee is ultimately responsible for submitting the Standard of Excellence to the AKC for publication. Then the Standard committee hands this all over to the Judge’s education committee to hold seminars to educate the judges on the Standard of Excellence. The good all rounder judges who know the Standard for the breed will reward the dog who most closely matches the Standard of Excellence in that class, on that day. Again, the AKC has nothing to do with this process. If you want to influence the style of your breed insist the JUDGES adhere to judging by the standard. Exhibitors have an obligations to bring the judge a good representative of the breed. So it goes. The AKC is a registry body that is all.

  33. To the author, not sure what you know about Alaskan Huskies? They are the modern sled dog, a mixed breed dog developed over the past 100 years purely based on performance. Apearance can vary greatly from houndier short coated sprint dogs to thicker coated long distance dogs which have a more sibe like apperance. Recent genetic testing has proven that the alaskan husky has it’s own unique genetic signature which is actually more distinct then that of the sibe or malamute. Alaskan huskies with varying appearence (floopy ears vs erect ears, short coat vs long coat, stockier build for long distance trotter vs houndy sprint build etc) actually can have more in common genetically then two sibes who look identical. Mushers are great record keepers and pedigrees from many top kennels is on a database on the net strectching back many generations.

    • Yes, I am familiar with them and I love them! Our mix, Miss MIllie Angel looked very much like an Alaskan Huskie. If you read my blog, Living With a Feral Dog, you will see photos of her.

  34. I believe that the AKC’s judges are as much to blame as the breeders. If a judge actually read and went by the breed standard when placing they’d have to excuse countless dogs. Judges accepting coat enhancements and scissoring instead of hand stripping started years ago and is now par for the course. The physical changes as mention in the GS for one, must have come about slowly and insidiously as judges started to choose this type. The standard stopped being important to the breeder if he wanted to win. And winning is what it’s all about.

    • Judges can only put up what the breeders show them!

      • I believe the judges drive the breeders on what to produce based upon the judges placements. Breeders want to win; they see what the judges are choosing and then start to use these “winners” as the way to the BIS. Slowly over years the type changes from the standard by who is winning. The judges are culpable. They could have long ago dismissed the dogs with coat enhancements, the poor gait of the GS, the too short snout of the bull dog, the overangulation etc.

        • It is a chicken or egg dilemma

      • the AKC licenses Judges, sets the requirements for their education and flatly refuses to review their performance or suspend their privileges for poor performance. All the blame does not go to the AKC but a very large part? It does. The AKC allows breeders to judge their own dogs. The AKC tells judges they prefer they only withhold ribbons if the dog is unrecognizable as the breed. I know breeders who flatly state that judges prefer X. A trait that is directly contrary to the standard of their breed. So rather than breed for what the standard says they breed for that trait. Why? because they are not going to breed to lose. So tell me again how the AKC is not responsible, in at least half, for this mess?

        • I”m no expert, but do the rules on performance of judges have anything to do with what dogs they put up? I don’t think so. I am just an “owner”, whose dogs are handled by my co-owner and breeder. Almost all my experiences with purebred dogs are in the performance area – ob, agility, tracking, search and recovery and hunting – where judging is objective, for the most part. Conformation judging is by nature subjective. Rules governing performance cannot be subjective, must be like any employment performance reviews – as objective as possible. So unless a judge swears at a handler, slaps a dog, or messes up the awards, I don’t see how the AKC can be blamed for perceived distortions in breed type.

        • Sorry, my last sentence makes no sense. I meant to say that the AKC judging performance standards can’t apply to personal opinions on breed type or style.

      • I would like to see more judges withholding first place ribbons or declining to award points when there are no entries worthy of them. The “best of the worst” in a poor quality entry, should never be rewarded.

      • Not true! The problem is they put up the most extreme version of whatever breed with disregard for the written standard.

  35. I agree the onus lies with the breed parent clubs. They create their breed standards. Then the breeders need to actually breed to that standard. Without checking specifically, I cannot imagine that the GSD standard calls for them to walk ON their hocks, or the lab standard calls for them to be short legged and fat!
    Very happy that I have a breed that is wash and wear, and that has not been changed substantially over the years.

  36. Amen! Very well put. Standard poodles are my breed, and I don’t pretend to be an expert, but they are getting more and more angulated in the rear, with straighter and straighter fronts. And ewe necks! And, as with shelties and collies, the show poodle (in continental, at least) is getting lost in a sea of hair. My dogs have CHIC numbers (with passing scores on the tests), but to me it means nothing–the requirements for a CHIC falls far short of the testing that should be done. And that said, you can’t test for the genotype responsible for autoimmune issues– IMHO, the biggest health threat the standards face today. And none of this goes is the fault of the AKC.

  37. Aussie’s as well.
    Alot of blame should go to breed clubs. As they will coutinue to change their standards to fit what they are breeding.
    In the Aussie the standard used to a loose to medium eyed working style. Now if you show up with an Aussie that works with eye you are looked down on. But they have changed the standard to a loose eyed dog. And don’t even get me started on the Aussie that are in the AKC show ring, not one of those dogs could spend a whole day working.

    • A breed club can only change their standard every 5 years. Without checking I don’t think you’ll find that many have changed their standards over the years.

  38. The AKC is suppose to examine kennels that sell AKC dogs, there are only 9 inspectors for the whole united states. Many of these are just Puppy mills!!
    So yes , I would blame AKC for not doing their job and promoting more sick unhealthy puppies.

    • The AKC only monitors those huge breeding facilities that we commonly call puppy mills. The small breeder I’d bet my last coin on are good people who do not want to breed sick dogs. They care too much. The impact of who is the winning dog affects the breeders choices to try and get that “type” set to in their bloodlines so they can place. A dog show is supposed to be showing of your best breeding stock based on the standard. Unfortunately the judges don’t follow the standard and are setting type for breeders to emulate.

  39. And Shelties are turning into giant balls of hair, with bone so heavy they can barely make it across a room, let alone run sheep along the shore, over the rocks and up the cliffs.

    • YES! There’s that big bone thing again! I have no idea why they think more bone is better! I assume it is to hold up all the hair.

      • I have a regulation size Sheltie. She has a great coat. A little heavy bone. She has no trouble chasing down sheep. He is a great worker. I have trouble thinking how these tiny 14 lbs Shelties work. They don’t have enough body mass to move sheep.

  40. The evaluating/inspecting idea has merit, but only if done impartially and with knowledgeable personnel. The link Helen has above for the pedigree database on GSDs is for the German national champions, registered and controlled completely by the German GSD registry. The dogs have to have working titles, decent conformation ratings, and passing hip X-rays or you can’t register the puppies! Even with this in place, there was several decades of a small group of individuals who liked a specific type/bloodline, and as you can see from the photos, the show German GSD has it’s problems, as well as being known for mediocre work. There is a split over there between the working and show GSD. The American lines veered off into absurdity also, just in a different direction. Breeders use titles and certifications as proof of a dog’s worthiness to breed, regardless of any glaring faults in the dog’s temperament, health, or compatibility with the mate they’ve chosen. They don’t need to actually evaluate or even learn how to evaluate the structure, movement, temperament or working ability since someone else has judged the dog “worthy”. I know some that do, but they are greatly outnumbered by the ones that don’t.

    • You make excellent points! I have often heard people say their dogs have titles at both ends. It is easy to get titles. It is not easy for dogs to excel at their real job for a living and to work hard and stay sound. That takes structure and mind.
      I put herding instinct certificates on all six of my Poodles. Does that mean they could go to a farm and work all day and do the job of our Border Collies? HECK NO! They would rather go swimming at the spa.

      • Well, maybe they couldn’t work all day or do the job – in the same way! – as Border Collies, but the fact that they demonstrated the instincts for which the breed was developed does mean something. I also disagree that “it’s easy to get titles” at both ends… That is a real slap to the many dedicated people who spend the blood, sweat, tears, many hours, and yes $$$ to achieve those goals. Years ago, with my first “show dog” (a yellow lab bitch), I planned a breeding and was very interested in a gorgeous Ch. stud… That is, until I visited his owner to discuss possible breeding details. My bitch – “all conformation breeding” – was into the guy’s pond as soon as she could, but the gorgeous Ch. stud ran frantically around the edges, whining because he wanted to meet my girl but didn’t want to get himself wet! He did NOT stay on the studs’ short list! He was NOT a suitable representative of his breed. My conformation-bred bitch also obtained a “working certificate in the field” – and actually far preferred that to the show ring. (Her grandmother was the first dual yellow bitch in the breed) Whether “show bred” or “working/performance”, the important thing is the instinct and soundness to carry out that purpose. A show champion without the drive and instincts that breed should have is useless… The field-bred dog, though, can have all the drive and instincts in the world, but if it doesn’t have the construction (which, along with temperament, is what conformation showing is supposed to judge), is no better.

  41. It used to be, back in the olden days which I sadly am old enough to remember, that a “real” Champion Labrador had a CH/AFC in its name. I can think of only one dog our there like that, he was shown in the Midwest, where athletic Labs (gosh what a nonsense phrase that *should* be) tend to get put up in the show ring. Amazingly, it was the guy’s first dog, and he owner-handled to both championships. Why yes, I am jealous. How did you guess.

  42. A local TV station did a segment, really on rescue, but it was advertised as a segment on the AKC. Because the AKC could not tell them how many breeders are in the US, among other things, the station trashed the AKC. It was clearly a segment on rescue & they wanted trash the AKC. But, my point is that the AKC is a legitimate organization and very necessary to purebred dogs & dogs in general.

  43. amen to all of your blog…how can anyone look at a show ring German Shepherd and tell me it’s a thing of beauty? For the love of heaven, they can’t even WALK….it’s really sickening to me.
    Thanks for speaking up Helen.

  44. I appreciate your POV, and there is no question that it’s easy to target the AKC, but I do hold them accountable/culpable in that they ARE in a position to make, encourage, support and defend changes that will help the breeds yet they seemingly don’t ever take that opportunity and instead just become defensive and put the blame elsewhere. Yet are happy to take $ from any “breeder” that wants to pay them $ – be it a puppy mill, a BYB or whomever. Yes the AKC is a registry, but they could easily NOT register a double merle breeding, etc. but they would rather take the $, and not care about the outcome.

    • Julie – There are some horse organizations that do that type of thing where they actually evaluate each horse before they will register it for breeding. Can we say expensive? Not a bad idea, but I see no way this would be able to be implemented except through each breed club. Which goes back to Helen’s point …

      • For many years I was an inspector for the American Connemara Pony Society. The ponies could be registered without inspection, but the inspection certainly added something to the ponies’ credentials.
        I LOVED inspecting! Sadly, agility and canine structure for performance got in the way so I no longer inspect. I miss it and the people.

        • And how do you feel about the refine of the Connemara?

  45. Amen!! I’m so sick of everyone bashing the AKC and blaming them for health problems and puppy mills!

    • Ment refining

  46. Same thing with Labs. Working ones are atheletic. The show ring ones are fat and massive and ugly.

    • Labs were my “first breed” about 45 years ago… Yes, conformation labs were longer legged, leaner, etc., but even then there was a divide between “show” and “field” people… I was in the minority because I believed then – and still do – that a dog needs to look like and perform like the breed it represents, i.e., a beautiful conformation dog that won’t get it’s feet wet is useless and should be excluded from the gene pool… But, an “ugly” lab, one that doesn’t look like the breed is supposed to, or that isn’t correctly constructed (and some of the field dogs were not!), is equally undesirable. I agree current-day show labs have devolved into something unrecognizable from a few years ago, but maybe more has to be encouraged to bring the two sides together to develop an all-around pooch! I believe the purpose of conformation showing is supposed to be to evaluate the structure and temperament of the dogs for potential breeding worthiness. Correct movement should indicate the structure under the skin – the balance – the soundness of the dog. Simply being field-bred does not guarantee athletic, but it’s not fair to paint all the conformation dogs as fat/massive/ugly… There are surely some breeders at both ends who could combine their knowledge and purpose and produce pups that look like and perform as they should for that breed? Sounds like a movement to me!

  47. right on! you forgot to mention Goldens and Labs as another rined breed.

  48. Goldens are another breed that no longer resembles the original goldens, at least there are still “field Goldens”


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