Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Get on Board With the Kennel Club?

The Westminster winner: a dog that cannot breathe. It's own death will be its own relief.

A dog that cannot herd won the herding group.

This is the winning bitch for the Neopolitans.  Say no more!

This is the winner of the hound group. 
Neither judge, owner or dog has ever hunted anything but rosettes.

This English Bulldog was given an "award of merit for breed."

It's the morning after the Westminster Dog Show, and the litter and trash are being swept up at Madison Square Garden.

In the newspaper Victoria Stilwell tells us that we have to get on board with pedigree dogs and dog shows:

"We can't ignore dog shows, For one thing, they're so popular. So, I say 'get on the boat.' I don't think the world is going to exist without pedigreed dogs. I don't think the world should exist without pedigreed dogs. I love pedigreed dogs as much as I love the mutt. If there is no responsible breeding, what will happen to the dog? But I am talking about breeding that must be responsible."


Responsible breeding of the English Bulldog?

The Pekingese?  The Pug?  The Neopolitan Mastiff?  The Basenji?

The Lundehund?  The Chinese Crested?  The Boston Terrier?  The Shar-pei?

How can one have responsible breeding when the breed standard calls for intentional selection for defect and the Kennel Club calls for breeding pedigree dogs within a closed registry that affords ZERO points for health?

In fact, Victoria Stilwell is bit clueless as to the issues here, which is not a complete surprise since she has never actually shown dogs and has only had a dog herself for a few years.

She supports adoption and mixes (good!) but she is also a celebrity-chaser and would not want to piss off any big names or big money which might advance her career.

Like so many before her -- veterinarians, dog handlers, breeders, trainers, book authors, and magazine editors -- she has simply looked past the institutionalized violence done to dogs by the show ring. Now she cages the debate as being between "responsible" breeders and "irresponsible" breeders.

In fact, the debate is not about vague terms like "responsible" and "irresponsible," or "good" and "bad," but about measurable terms such as health and work.

You will never have either when you select for defect and mandate breeding within a closed registry that ignores temperament and coefficients of inbreeding.

You will never have health or work if the show ring affords zero points for health and work, and if you celebrate fantasy, celebrity, cash and ego over what is good for dogs.

Get on board with the Kennel Club and the show ring pretenders?

Sorry, but in America we are going the other way and we are voting with our feet and our wallets.

The AKC has seen a 70 percent decline in registrations in recent years, and the decline is speeding up, not slowing down.

If Victoria Stilwell wants to cuddle up next to Martha Stewart and her Chow, she is free to do so, but that's about celebrity- and fame-chasing, not dogs. 

If you stand for dogs, you do not stand for the Kennel Club

You do not 'get on the boat' --  you get off the boat and tell everyone on the dock to avoid the Titanic mistake that has been the 120-year venture called the Kennel Club.


Curt said...

I knew the AKC was flawed, but had no idea it is as corrupt and as evil as it obviously is. Thanks for enlightening me!

D.M. said...

Obviously you are not well versed in Victoria Stilwell's background and opinions of AKC & other dog club's breeding standards. Victoria has expressed all over the board that she is totally against the breeding standards that are held up by the AKC and other dog clubs. When she talks about "responsible breeders" she's talking about breeders who are breeding for the love of the breed, and not for cold hard cash, or puppy mills (she involves herself in puppy mill awareness protests every year). This statement from Victoria isn't asking people to get on board with the breeding standards of today - believe me. She is a spokesperson for the RSPCA “Born to Suffer” Campaign which focuses on changing breed standards, and she has spoken out numerous times against how the kennel clubs of the world are ruining the breeds by designing the dog to look like what the "owner" wants, instead of the health and well being of the dog. Please research your accusations - you have got the wrong idea completely.

D.M. said...

You might also want to fairly mention that Victoria spoke to the producer of "Pedigreed Dogs Exposed" (which you advertise on your blog) on her Podcast a few months ago. Here's a link to that podcast -

PBurns said...

Sorry, DM, but I do not have the wrong idea. Stilwell said what she said. I quote her direclty from the Chicago Tribune, but you do not quote her at all.

I also know Stilwell's background pretty well: She is a failed actress (actually more of an extra, and small-bit player in musical theatre), who started a dog walking business and who sold herself to Animal Planet as a dog trainer so they would have a show to put up against a far more successful dog-training show put on by National Geographic. She learned dog training through a correspondence school course. Her goal was to get on television, not to stand for dogs. In the UK she said she was famous in America, and in America, she said she was famous in the UK, but in fact she did not even own a dog, and no one seems to have ever remembered her training anything before her television show. Her marketing tactic (and it is simply a marketing tactic) is to scream rather hysterically that every other dog trainer in the world is cruel or doing it wrong, but she herself seems to flit around like a moth before a klieg light never actually training any dog to do anything.

As for meeting with the producer of Pedigree Dogs Exposed, she told her that she was not actually following what was happening with dogs in the UK, but of course she is also not following what is happening with dogs in the US either, or else she would know that the AKC has had a 70 percent decline in registrations in the last 17 years.

For the record, Stilwell and I have both been columnists for Dogs Today for the last two years while that magazine did story after story about the rotten health of pedigree dogs. During that entire time, Stilwell has not written one word about the misery created by intentional selection for defect, the fact that the Kennel Club pockets massive profits from puppy mills, or the disease caused by the Kennel Club requiring people to breed dogs within a closed registry. Absolute silence. Absolute ignorance.

Now Stilwell has gotten herself in the dog training franchise business (a particularly poor choice for a franchise), which is to say she is very much in the "dog for profit" business. But of course she always has been.

Do I think Stilwell wakes up in the morning thinking about breeding dogs in pain? Of course not. I think she wakes up in the morning thinking how she can market herself, and she thinks rubbing up against celebrities at Westminster is one way to do that, and so too is throwing in with the direct mail outfit called the RSPCA which seems to have just "discovered" that pedigree dog health might be an issue they might be able to raise direct mail money off of. Now that Stilwell is in the franchise business however (litigation to follow, no doubt), her personal fortune and that of her franchise-holders is very much tied to not saying anything that might piss off dog breed owners and anyone else who might have themselves tied to the AKC. So don't look for Stilwell to put out a list of the Top Ten Breeds ruined by the AKC. She is not going to get into a war with the AKC when they might say something nice about here and feature her at Westminster next year. Imagine the klieg lights there!

And so when the Number One dog story coming out of Westminster Dog Show was about the Kennel Club kicking Pedigree Dog Food's shelter dog campaign to the curb, Stilwell stood up for show dog breeders telling us to "get on board" with pedigree dogs and the Kennel Club.

Sorry, but that's what happened, and that's her background.

Stilwell will stand for dogs if she thinks her financial and fame interests are allied with whatever product or cause is being pumped, but that's not about dogs, but about her.

Unknown said...

Is that bulldog covered in "ice packs"?

The AKC is insane. Not all Kennel Clubs are inherently bad, the Swedish for example have been doing good things for many years now (even though they are still carrying part of the guilt, I won't say anything else)...

But the statement made by the president of the AKC, about NEVER "allowing any such practice", such as demaning that a dog winning a show can do the most basics of a dog life, such as being able to breathe and move freely and being free from health problems, is just insane.