Go back in your closet and get out a couple of old dog magazines, and look to see who was in your breed just a decade ago.
Now look to see if they are still in dogs now.
No? A lot are gone, you say?
I am reminded of this phenomenon every time I go to a dog show and look at the new "Kennel Names" gracing the pop-up tents.
Who are these people?
Flip through a breeder's directory or a dog magazine, and you will find more of the same.
Click on a few links, visit a few blogs, and you will find more new arrivals and lots of abandoned houses; web sites not updated in five years, and most of the kennels names listed in the "blog roll of friends" gone with the wind.
So many come, stay for a few years, and then they are gone.
It is not a new problem.
Dog breeders and instant experts show up on an almost daily basis to replace the old ones who wander off to take up new hobbies -- off-road biking, fly fishing, or raising backyard llamas.
Surveys show that the average person who breeds show dogs is in it for just five years before moving on to something else. "One and done" hunters seem to be the majority, not the exception.
Someone sent me a link the other day to an Internet bulletin board where someone that no one has ever heard of (and who is not using his real name), was denigrating someone who actually has a real name, and who has dug a few dogs, and bred some too.
But of course, most of the people on the boards are all of 12-minutes old themselves. What do they know? They certainly do not know any better!
Old story. Pretenders and wannabes will always be with us.
There are the terrier experts who do not own a locator collar, pointer experts who do not own a shotgun, and collie experts whose dogs have never seen a wild-eyed sheep.
There are the dog training experts whose expertise is based on training a retriever puppy, and there are the wannabe dog-fighters who roll around in "strong dog" myth like a dog in stink.
It takes all kinds, I suppose.
I got an email the other day from someone who had a bug in her bonnet. She wanted me to know she was an expert in her breed, and that she had owned dogs for 11 years.
Wow. A real expert. Pardon me if I might suggest that expertise is not yet won if your first dog has yet to die of old age! Credibility might also be enhanced if you knew the data being cited comes from the only two breed health surveys done for your breed! Basic stuff. Not much to know, but do try to learn it!
The Internet has made it easy for parrots and typing monkeys to put up spaces that fill voids, but offer no real substance.
And what is the result? Lolcats, puppy peddlers, and copy-paste experts.
They are like the Hollywood western towns: a board one-inch thick, with nothing but the desert behind them.
To be clear, spending 50 years in dogs does not mean you know your ass from your elbow either. Go to any dog show and talk to folks about the health of their deformed and inbred breeds, and you will slip through the looking glass into Wonderland pretty quick!
Time spent with dogs and in dogs is the hope you might have picked up a few bones of knowledge along the way --- not any promise that you actually have.