Dog shows are all about the romance of dogs -- which is to say they are pretty far from the reality of canine genetics today.
One of the things you will NEVER hear at a dog show is the true history of any breed, or the list of genetic defects that have been exacerbated by closed registries.
And yet what a thing it would be to hear the truth!
What a breath of fresh air it would be to hear:
"The German Shepherd was never much of a herding dog and is never found herding today. A herding German Shepherd -- ha - what a notion! In fact this dog is a relatively new breed, created around 1900. Today the genetic stock of this dog is so racked by chronic hip dysplasia that many lines of German shepherds can barely walk. Anyone with an ounce of sense stays away from show lines today, and imports their dogs from working stock overseas."
The Bull Dog would be properly introduced as:
"A game dog once used to catch stock for altering or slaughter, the bull dog was reduced in stature and mutated by intentionally breeding in achondroplastic dwarfism, which is why the legs on these dogs are so bent they can barely walk. The pressed-in-face means the dogs have chronic breathing problems, while the digestive tract is so wrecked that these dogs pass more gas than a Mexican restaurant. You will learn to light matches with a bull dog!
The heads on these dogs are so enormous that all the dogs are born caesarian, and in fact this dog would be extinct within 10 years if it were not for veterinarians helping these little mutants into the world.
Notice that nice little pig tail? That is a source of chronic skin infection, and most of the dogs in the ring today will have their tails completely cut off after they are retired from performance -- a way of making it easier to keep this breed after a show ring career."
Someone really should write a new voice-over sound track for a dog show and see if the BBC or Animal Planet might run it -- it would certainly amaze the public to learn the truth about these dogs, from dachshunds to poodles, from Irish setters to Scottish terriers. And there is certainly no shortage of true dog tales to tell!
The picture, at the top of this post, for example, shows changes in the shape of the skull of the bull terrier. The first photo is from 1930, the next from 1950, the third from 1980.
This photo is shown because a bull terrier is the proud "Best in Show" winner of the 2006 Westminster Kennel Club show in New York City! Another triumph of ego and vanity over common sense and utility.
- For more information, see:
** Rosettes to Ruin: Making & Breaking Dogs in the Show Ring