Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Time to Pull the Plug on the Skye Terrier

The Crufts dog show is just around the corner, so it's not much of a surprise to find a stream of nonsense coming from the Kennel Club's public relations department, none of it original or useful.

Once again the Kennel Club is peddling the well-worn line that Skye Terriers and several other breeds are "rarer than Giant Pandas."

Complete bullshit.

For one, every Panda in the world is counted in that equation, but the Kennel Club is only counting dogs it registers in the U.K., and nowhere else. For the record, there are only two Giant Pandas in the U.K. (both in Scotland), so the Giant Panda is a hell of a lot rarer in the U.K.!

Of course truth has never stopped the Kennel Club from peddling nonsense before, and reporters remain dead lazy, so we get the predictable news story about the horror that only 17 Skye Terriers were born in the U.K. last year, down from 30 when I last reported on this identical horror" back in 2006.

So why is the Skye Terrier so rare? And why is the Dandie Dinmont Terrier also sliding off the table into oblivion?

Here's a hint:  Both dogs are useless, high-maintenance, expensive, and not very attractive.

The reason for this is that neither breed is remotely like the original dog from which it is descended.

Both of the dogs are products of "the fancy" and not the field and, ironically enough, no one seems to fancy what "The Fancy" seems to value.

Go figure.

The Skye Terrier, of course, has always been a put-up job -- a fantasy created by hair dressers for the show ring.  Even the story of "Greyfriar's Bobby" is a hoax, created by a local tavern as a long-running publicity stunt that has been fanned hard by Edinburgh's tourist industry.

But back to the larger issue.   Yes, we have rare breeds.  But why is a breed "rare?" Most of the time it's because it's a failed breed. What should we do with any failed product?   Should we keep making it and continue to try to flog it to a public that is not buying?

Writing about the Dandie, I once detailed its myriad failings and made a recommendation:

Named after a fictional character in a novel, and forced to compete head-to-head with other poodle-coated mops, this dog has found few customers due to its odd-looking sway back, poor movement, and complete uselessness in the field.

Add in the health problems suffered by Dandies -- cushings, hypothyroidism, and a narrow-angle glaucoma that is unique to Dandies -- and you stand at the cusp of a question.

Factor in the fact that more than 40% of dogs are born cesarean, and the case is made for intervention.

The old working terrier from which the modern Dandie claims descent was not a product of the Kennel Club and did not suffer these indignities.

Perhaps now is the time to release this breed from the inbreeding mandated by a tiny gene pool wedded to a closed registry system.

Perhaps now is the time to release this dog from the bondage of contrived show dog standards.

Yes, let us release this dog "back to the wild" of its working roots. It has not done well in "captivity". De-list this dog from the Kennel Club's roles, and move on.

Other breeds should also be delisted, and for much the same reason -- the Skye Terrier, the Clumber Spaniel, the Sussex Spaniel, the Glenn of Imaal Terrier, the Manchester Terrier, and the Sealyham Terrier.

None of these dogs were created in the Kennel Club -- they have only been deformed, emasculated, and inbred since their arrival. Release these dogs "back to the wild". They have not done well in "captivity," and they have failed in the marketplace.

In short, pull the plug on the Dandie, the Skye Terrier, and several other breeds as well.  De-list them.

The Ford Motor Company no longer makes the Edsel.

AMC no longer makes the Gremlin or the Pacer.

There is a time and place to say "enough is enough" and throw the broken, defective, poorly built, and ill-conceived on to the dust bin of history.

That time has come for the Skye and Dandie Dinmont terriers.

A re-post from 2014.

    1 comment:

    Dan said...

    I know a chap who owns a Dandie, and likes it quite a bit. Personally I cannot see why, for the animal is damn-nigh untrainable due to having the intellect of a woodlouse. Whilst out and about, it needs a GPS transponder on its collar since it has next to no recall and often completely forgets where it is compared to its owner.

    Going in and out of doorways, it generally has to be hustled along rapidly, lest it lift a leg and urinate on the doorpost (something that its owner has been unable to cure; to train an animal the thing needs a functioning brain and this one has very little). Its interactions with other dogs are limited to haphazard mating attempts irrespective of the sex of the other animal.

    Basically, this Dandie mostly fails at being a dog, and this mostly down to being exceedingly inbred. I therefore concur; time we let these bloodlines die out or be thoroughly diluted by the working strain of rough-coated terriers.