The February 2009 AKC Gazette has an article in it from Dorothy MacDonald entitled "Not Just a Pretty Face." You can read it here.
MacDonald is an ancient AKC judge of the type that has clocked several hundred thousand miles in cars and airplanes on behalf of dogs, is qualified by the AKC to judge every type of dog under the sun, and never mind that she has never worked the breed in question, or even owned it.
How are we to know the dogs we judge, she asks? A good question. And the answer?
By reading! Not by DOING. Not by seeing if a fox terrier can go down a hole, not by seeing what it actually takes to make a good bird dog, a working sheep dog, a fast coursing dog, a solid sled dog, or a man-stopping molosser.
She opines that Nornay Saddler, a famous smooth-coated fox terrier that won many shows in the terrier-crazed 1930s "could show today and win," but she does not ask if that dog ever worked a fox or could. (It didn't, and it couldn't.)
She lectures that we need to judge soundness, and suggests that a bird dog should have a sense of smell, but she does not explain how you judge a sense of smell in the ring.
She suggests a terrier should have good teeth, but I have never seen a working terrier with bad teeth. Scissors bite, level bite, or shot bite, it hardly matters. What matters is whether the dog has voice -- an element Ms. MacDonald does not mention. And how do you judge voice in the ring? Not easily!
This is the American Kennel Club today, repeating the ancient chestnut that "form follows function," and never mind if that is not true in the AKC, and that it is not even true in that sentence!
Instead, what we get is regurgitated rhetoric, gleaned from a book, and spewed back out for the next generation of young puppies to lap up.
The core message of the American Kennel Club is a simple one: The best dogs (or people) are the ones who win beauty pageants! They will be the healthiest and the smartest workers.
"Look at that movement" says the boss of the young lady who has just left the interview.
"Yes," says his Number Two. "That girl sure has talent."
"Yes. As soon as she walked in the room, I could see she was sound."
"I wonder if she can type?"
"Does it matter?" asks the boss.
And they both burst out laughing.
"No, not at all. She starts Monday."
A repost from this blog, 2009.
|Donald Trump with Westminster winner.|