Carnival Barkers at the Dog Shows
|Art by the always-terrific Kevin Brockbank - click to enlarge.|
This year the farce that is the Crufts Dog Show continues unabated.
Named after a dog food salesman that never owned a dog, Crufts started out as the Allied Terrier Show and helped speed the rapid destruction of almost ever breed of working terrier, from Fox and Welsh to Border and Bedlington.
Crufts is also the location where the genetic disaster know as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel first appeared, spurred by an American by the name of Roswell Eldridge who put up a cash prize for anyone who could come up with a dog that looked like those in the paintings of van Dyck.
The resulting dog was inbred to the point that today more than 50 percent of Cavaliers die from heart disease, and well over one-third of Cavaliers have Syringomyelia, a disorder of the brain and spinal cord.
A few years back, insult was added to injury when Crufts was taken over by discount sofa company sponsor.
Believe it or not, a sofa is now part of the Crufts logo!
The owner of the discount sofa company, DFS, has said (and I could not make this up):
"If DFS was a dog, it would be a Crufts champion."
Translated into English that means: "We sell products that look good in the picture but they fall to pieces the moment you try and actually put them to use."
The Latest Charade
So what's the latest charade?
Just this: The London Times reports that "The Kennel Club has rewritten the rules for the Crufts dog show to give a veterinary surgeon the authority to exclude any unfit dog."
Right. And how does that work? After all, there are entire breeds that are unfit. As one bobble-headed English Bulldog breeder helpfully explained to a television crew:
"In the heat and the lights of the show, they can overheat and actually go down in five minutes. Instead of a long snout, where it's an open airway, it's smashed like a coke can and the breathing has to go through many, many curves and turns."
Fit for function, provided the function is cremation.
Of course, the English Bulldog is just one breed. What about all the others? Is the Kennel Club going to go around disqualifying all the Basset Hounds and Bloodhounds that have cherry eye?
Are they going to toss out all the German Shepherds with sloping backs and collapsing hocks?
What about all the achondroplastic (dwarf) and brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds that cannot move or breathe well?
Is the Kennel Club veterinarian going to green-light all those Chihuahuas that have holes in the top of their skulls which leave their brain unprotected by bone?
Don’t count on it.
One clue as to which direction the Kennel Club is going is that they have said they plan to pay particular attention to the Chinese Cresteds this year.
The Chinese Crested?
The Chinese Crested is a semi-hairless dog that looks like a mutant from Mars. This breed routinely takes the prize at ugly dog contests due to its hairless body, chronic skin conditions and missing teeth which are all a byproduct of a genetic defect called canine ectodermal dysplasia (CED), which is the defining characteristic of the breed.
So is the Kennel Club going to toss this genetic mess?
Good heavens, NO!
In fact, the Kennel Club’s concern seems to be that some of the dogs might not be defective enough! You see, some of the “hairless” Chinese Crested actually have quite a lot of hair.
In the past, these dogs have been shaved and slathered with depilatory cream in order to achieve the show ring “perfection” of a “hairless” dog. But the Kennel Club now says it’s going to put a stop to that! Only naturally deformed hairless mutants for them!
Of course it’s all just a game. Now the dogs are going to be shaved the night before rather than ring-side.
But shhhhhh! Tell no one!
To Tell the Truth
Of course, dog shows are not about the reality of dogs, but about the romance and artifice of dogs, which is why dogs shows are all about aggressive grooming, and not about the true history of breeds or fixing the real health and genetic problems that plague dogs.
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 is a relatively new breed, created around 1900, and it was never much of a herding dog. Today the genetic stock of this dog is so racked by chronic hip dysplasia that many lines of German shepherds can barely walk, and anyone with an ounce of sense stays away from show lines completely.”
The English Bull Dog would be properly introduced as a national embarrassment:
“The English Bull has been reduced in stature by show ring pretenders who crossed it with a Chinese Pug to create the bench-legged, flat- faced, heaving monster you see before you today.
“These dogs are so ungainly that bitches have to be strapped into rape racks so they can mate, and the heads on the pups are so over-sized that over 90 percent of the dams have to be surgically cut open because the new-born pups cannot squeeze down a birth canal.
“See the tight pig tails on these dogs? That’s a source of chronic skin infection to the point that most show dogs have their tails amputated when they retire from the ring.
One final bit for you prospective owners: these dogs have such twisted digestive tracts, due to their shortened body length, that they end up passing more gas than a rugby team after a dinner at a Mexican restaurant. You will learn to light a match if you own an English Bull Dog!”
And what if we told the truth about the Irish Wolfhound. The howls!
“This dog is a complete fake -- a 19th Century Scottish recreation of an extinct Irish dog.
“It was created to chase wolves? Ridiculous. Wolves are not exterminated by coursing with dogs, but with poison, traps, baited hooks, and snares. That’s true today, as it has always been.
“In fact, from the beginning, this has been a dog dealer’s dog -- an imposing beast sold to people who needed an ego boost for themselves, or perhaps an impressive gift for royalty. And yet, as imposing as this dog appears on a leash, it’s probably not long for this world. You see, this giant breed does not stop growing until age three, but it’s generally dead by age 7 due to bloat or bone cancer. Get an Irish Wolfhound if you want, but you probably won’t have one for long!”
I could go on, of course.
The Bull Terrier and the Boston Terrier, for example, are non-functioning dogs created by dog dealers eager to sell to a gullible, show-ring besotted public.
Aside from a common history, these two dogs also share something else: on average, both are dead by age 8 or 9 due to cancer, kidney or heart failure.
The Dalmatian is a breed that seems to have no clear purpose other than to carry around its spots. This breed not only suffers from a high rate of congenital deafness, but also from painful uric acid stones in some male dogs, which can necessitate a urethrostemy in which the scrotum is removed, and the urinary tract is permanently relocated to a hole punched into the base of the dog’s penis so it urinates like a female.
Harlequin Great Danes are simply a color variant of a giant breed that, on average, is dead by age seven. Of course, a lot of Harlequins are dead before then, as one in four Harlequin Great Danes are born deaf and most are put to sleep.
The average Bloodhound and Mastiff is lucky to make it to age 7 due to serious gastrointestinal issues and cancer.
All of the Setters have cancer rates of about 25 percent while, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Scottish terrier struggle with cancer rates of over 45 percent and Golden Retrievers with cancer rates of about 40 percent.
And so it goes, down the list.
So are all Kennel Club dogs complete crap? No, of course not.
I have no doubt you can find a healthy Beagle than can also work if someone will take it out and give it a chance in the field.
Border Terriers are a pretty healthy breed, and if you look very carefully you might even be able to find one small enough to fit down a fox hole!
Many of the pointing breeds are not too wrecked in terms of health, though I suppose it should be said that no serious hunter would ever turn to a show kennel to find a working dog.
Not all of the lap dogs are incapable of sitting on a lap, though a frightful percentage are whelped in squalid Kennel Club-certified puppy farms.
From the April issue of Dogs Today..