Dogs In Review Magazine October 2016 - Page 29

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20 form the basic acts involved with being alive: breathing, eating, breeding, all qualities that are lost when breeding for extremes in any area? Who is teaching that terms used in describing dogs should be taken fairly literally? Long does not mean as long as possible; spirited does not mean manic; aloof does not mean pathologically shy. Without the guidance of our Parent Clubs, how do those who want to do the right thing learn? To whom can people safely go for this guidance, if not the Parent Clubs? The founders and guides of the past were interested in health, of course, but surely not as much as we are today. This is undoubtedly because of advances in both veterinary research and clinical care of dogs, but also because we understand much more about inheritance, nutrition and environmental factors. Currently, our Parent Clubs are devoting an enormous amount of energy and money to help their breeds live longer, healthier lives. But while emphasizing breeding for health, have we pushed aside breeding for quality, surely the goal of any responsible breeder and of the Parent Clubs? Florence Nagle, well known for her Irish Wolfhounds and general stockmanship, said that it is of no use to breed a good Irish Wolfhound if it wasn’t healthy, just as it is of no use to breed a healthy Irish Wolfhound if it was not a good one. Must we make a choice between the two? Regardless of personal opinion, it seems that Parent Clubs might be neglecting the issue of combining the two. Naturally, it is far more difficult to teach people how to actually breed good dogs that conform to a written standard, Suggestions for Parent Club Seminars or Classes: 1. Basic physical structure. Zena Thorn-Andrews, well-known international judge and breeder of Dachshunds and Irish Wolfhounds, has lamented publicly that many breeders today don’t understand the very basics of construction. It’s not enough to know where the femur or the hock or the loin are on the dog. We have to know their function. 2. Reading pedigrees. Anyone can look at a pedigree and read the names of the dogs, but it’s essential to understand how dogs line up in that pedigree and what influence they have had or are having on the population. Experienced breeders are essential in this process. 3. Genetics. Teach the very basics of the laws of inheritance and exactly what it means to linebreed or inbreed and what the results might be. It’s not enough to tell new breeders what they should or should not do. They must understand the consequences of what they do. Our Parent Clubs are devoting an enormous amount of energy and money to help their breeds live longer, healthier lives. and certainly there is an element of talent required that can never simply be taught. But Parent Clubs can play a crucial role in helping potential new breeders understand type, balance and quality. Taking Quality More Seriously As an early member of my own Parent Club, I was told that there were dogs of breeding quality and dogs that were “pets,” a term now considered pejorative. (What better place for any dog than to be someone’s “pet,” just as the term is used by humans as a term of endearment?) But let’s put that aside and call them non-breeding dogs. I was further told that when a litter resulted from two dogs of breeding quality, there would almost always be puppies in that litter of breeding/show quality and puppies that were “companion” quality, and any breeder that stated they were all show quality should be suspect. Therefore, we should always be breeding expressly for the highest-quality pups because there will be plenty of pups to place in loving “companion” homes. Breeding strictly for what we then called the pet market was a sure trademark of an irresponsible breeder. This is still America, and people are allowed to breed any category of dogs they want, whatever their quality. But if our Parent Clubs are truly interested in maintaining the complete, overall quality of their dogs, including health, temperament, conformation and type, shouldn’t we be taking more seriously our role in helping those who want to breed the best dogs possible, ones that excel in all of those qualities? I am sure that we have at this time in this country, breeds that are represented in the conformation show rings by the best specimen ever seen, or at least by a healthy representation of top-notch dogs. But let’s be honest with ourselves. That’s not the case in many breeds, perhaps most. Any knowledgeable breeder and judge will undoubtedly agree. Many dogs that are being shown and becoming champions are not the best dogs we can and did breed. They are then becoming champions and being bred, and on it goes. Allan Reznik, Editor of this publication, wrote about this lower quality in the August issue. He said, “Years ago, strong entries forced us all to step up our game and show only our best. If that incentive no longer exists, it may fall to our judges to demonstrate by their placements that they refuse to settle for finishable, second best, barely passable dogs.” Shouldn’t it also fall to our Parent Clubs to lead the way in helping to reverse this decline in quality by helping their breedermembers to do a better job? CONTINUED ON PAGE 117 26 DOGSinREVIEW.com and certainly there is an element of talent required that can CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20 never simply be taught. But Parent Clubs can play a crucial form the basic acts involved with being alive: breathing, eating, role in helping potential new breeders understand type, balbreeding, all qualities that are lost when breeding for extremes ance and quality. in any area? Who is teaching that terms used in describing dogs should be taken fairly literally? Long does not mean as long as possible; spirited does not mean manic; aloof does not mean Taking Quality More Seriously pathologically shy. Without the guidance of our Parent Clubs, As an early member of my own Parent Club, I was told that how do those who want to do the right thing learn? To whom there were dogs of breeding quality and dogs that were “pets,” can people safely go for this guidance, if a term now considered pejorative. not the Parent Clubs? (What better place for any dog than to The founders and guides of the past be someone’s “pet,” just as the term is Our Parent Clubs were interested in health, of course, used by humans as a term of endearare devoting an but surely not as much as we are toment?) But let’s put that aside and call enormous amount of day. This is undoubtedly because of adthem non-breeding dogs. I was further vances in both veterinary research and told that when a litter resulted from two energy and money to clinical care of dogs, but also because dogs of breeding quality, there would help their breeds live we understand much more about inalmost always be puppies in that litter longer, healthier lives. of breeding/show quality and puppies heritance, nutrition and environmental factors. Currently, our Parent Clubs are that were “companion” quality, and any devoting an enormous amount of enerbreeder that stated they were all show gy and money to help their breeds live longer, healthier lives. quality should be suspect. Therefore, we should always be But while emphasizing breeding for health, have we pushed breeding expressly for the highest-quality pups because there aside breeding for quality, surely the goal of any responsible will be plenty of pups to place in loving “companion” homes. breeder and of the Parent Clubs? Florence Nagle, well known Breeding strictly for what we then called the pet market was a for her Irish Wolfhounds and general stockmanship, said that it sure trademark of an irresponsible breeder. is of no use to breed a good Irish Wolfhound if it wasn’t healthy, This is still America, and people are allowed to breed any just as it is of no use to breed a healthy Irish Wolfhound if it category of dogs they want, whatever their quality. But if our was not a good one. Must we make a choice between the two? Parent Clubs are truly interested in maintaining the complete, Regardless of personal opinion, it seems that Parent overall quality of their dogs, including health, temperament, Clubs might be neglecting the issue of combining the two. conformation and type, shouldn’t we be taking more seriously Naturally, it is far more difficult to teach people how to acour role in helping those who want to breed the best dogs tually breed good dogs that conform to a written standard, possible, ones that excel in all of those qualities? I am sure that we have at this time in this country, breeds that are represented in the conformation show rings by the best specimen ever seen, or at least by a healthy representation of top-notch dogs. But let’s be honest with ourselves. That’s not the case in many breeds, perhaps most. Any knowledgeable breeder and judge will undoubtedly agree. Many 1. Basic physical structure. Zena Thorn-Andrews, well-known international dogs that are being shown and becoming champions are not judge and breeder of Dachshunds and Irish Wolfhounds, has lamented publicly the best dogs we can and did breed. They are then becoming that many breeders today don’t understand the very basics of construction. It’s champions and being bred, and on it goes. not enough to know where the femur or the hock or the loin are on the dog. We Allan Reznik, Editor of this publication, wrote about this have to know their function. lower quality in the August issue. He said, “Years ago, strong 2. Reading pedigrees. Anyone can look at a pedigree and read the names entries forced us all to step up our game and show only our of the dogs, but it’s essential to understand how dogs line up in that pedigree best. If that incentive no longer exists, it may fall to our judges and what influence they have had or are having on the population. Experienced to demonstrate by their placements that they refuse to settle breeders are essential in this process. for nishable, second best, barely passable dogs.” Shouldn’t 3. Genetics. Teach the very basics of the laws of inheritance and exactly what it also fall to our Parent Clubs to lead the way in helping it means to linebreed or inbreed and what the results might be. It’s not enough to reverse this decline in quality by helping their breederto tell new breeders what they should or should not do. They must understand members to do a better job? the consequences of what they do. Suggestions for Parent Club Seminars or Classes: CONTINUED ON PAGE 117 26 DOGSinREVIEW.com