A question for those of you with friends who show dogs in AKC, to bring this back to the main topic at hand: do the ethical breeders, those who want to do the right thing by the dogs, make any sort of concerted effort to influence breeding trends?
Sadly, not so much. I don't really know people who show dogs with droopy eyes or brachycephalic faces, but the folks I know who show more moderate breeds are willing to color noses or put on 10 lbs to get the Ch part over with. I have a friend who decided to show her Border Collie in conformation many moons ago, and she couldn't get a point on him at all. She hired a professional handler who was ale to get a few points but it wasn't until she made him a little fat that she got her majors. She she gritted her teeth, did it and when he had the desired Ch before his name, she slimmed him down and went back to performance sports. I asked her WHY on EARTH she would want that Ch when it clearly had more to do with who was holding the leash and the added 10 lbs, and her answer is it was what responsible breeders did. I was sad, but shes very ingrained in the culture and I have yet to change her mind (I'm still working on it).
The only logical answer I can come up with is that in doing so they'd be ensuring healthier dogs but giving up breed ring wins.
I understand from my participation on a herding e-mail list that is largely populated by AKC folk that driving change in AKC is not easy, but shouldn't these good breeders be trying to effect change? And if they could bring together a critical mass of breeders working to breed dogs who are healthier and less extreme would it be possible to influence breed ring judging?
I could be wrong, but I don't think its the AKC who trains or sets breed standards. I think its the breed clubs and each breed club could set standards for health clearances if they really wanted to.
When you feel like being frustrated, go read the PDE blog and see the comments from breeders who say "yeah but..." over and over looking at dogs like the bulldog or the Neo Mastiff. Its beyond sad.