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#1 Diana A

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:30 PM

I just saw this video someone posted on facebook. I wish all conformation people would see this. They did not show border collies in it, but a picture of Old Hemp along side a picture of a modern day ABCA working dog, and a modern day show dog, would have said a message loud and clear about breeding for form vs function. Breed for functon and you preserve not only function but also health, temperament, and form. Breed for form only and you create a mess.




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#2 Smalahundur

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:14 PM

No, no, no you don´t understand, see, they improve the breed! That is why they don´t look like members of the same breed from say fifty to hundred years ago. It´s because of all the improvements.... :rolleyes:

Interesting vid, but even if you forced every conformation breeder to watch it, I am afraid it would not make one iota of difference.

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#3 terrecar

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:26 PM

Very interesting video. Thanks for posting it.

I was surprised to see they used a GSD that appears to be from German show lines rather than American. While the American GSD is so heavily angulated that, well, that can't be good... It rather irks me to hear breeders of German show line dogs decry (and rightly so) the severe angulation of the American dogs then breed for the extreme (that can't be good either) roach back. They claim the roach makes for a stronger back, but I'd like to see the evidence.

ETA: Just so as not to ruffle any feathers, one of the dogs in the video looks very much like Jim vom Fiemereck (see Donald, for some of us it was about the dogs, not the people :) ). He isn't a dog I'd use as an example of the extreme German dogs. However this is: http://cdn.pedigreed...rfiles/Ouch.jpg

#4 Debbie Meier

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:29 PM

Thank you for sharing that video Nancy, very moving...very
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#5 WildFlower

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:30 PM

Truly saddening what conformation breeding has done to dogs.

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#6 Pippin's person

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:54 PM

The Shar Pei was most surprising--hadn't seen an old style one before.
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#7 Sue R

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:00 PM

I was on an AKC breeder's website the other day, and they were extolling how the modern-day show Border Collie was much more similar to the foundation dogs (like Hemp, etc.) than was the modern-day working-bred dog - which, they said, had been bred to be very different in form as it has been bred for trialing, not hill work. Here is part of the webpage that I read:

The Australian breed standard was used as an “interim standard” by the BCCofGB while this process evolved. The Interim standard was replaced by the current standard before the first CC’s were ever awarded. The current UK standard reflects the areas changed by the consultation and collaboration process. Mr. Collier states that making the standard describe the dogs they knew there in Great Britain was the group’s highest priority. Mr. Collier went on to emphasize that there were no “show” border collies in Great Britain at the time – the dogs they were describing were all 100% ISDS working stock.

The Great Britain breed standard is the ONLY standard in the world based upon the ISDS working dogs, and is the ONLY standard in the world that received input and agreement from the ISDS itself. The standard was purposely developed to be broad enough to encompass the four distinct types of ISDS working dogs: the "Northumbrian type (rough coated, dark dogs like Old Hemp); the "Wiston Cap" type (rough coated with full white trim); the "Nap" type (smooth coated); and the Herdman's Tommy type (large, rough coated tricolors).

Border Collies were fully recognized by the AKC effective October 1, 1995. The first AKC breed standard was based upon, and very similar to, the UK standard. The Border Collie Society of America proposed an entirely re-written standard in 2004. A significant number of Border Collie breeders vehemently opposed many of the changes, but the AKC board approved the new standard effective March 2, 2004.



So, according to this webpage, the vagueness of the breed standard was purposeful (even though it is obvious that the judging is not vague at all if you look at breed conformation champions), and it is based "solely" on working-bred dogs.

Well, I think as well-researched as this webpage appears to be, there is definitely a slanted view of the process that occurred. But that is to be expected from those who not only wished "to draft a breed standard and work to establish the Border Collie as a bench dog, as well as being a renowned working dog."

As long as any kennel club regards itself as the protector of a breed, this attitude will prevail - that you can breed for appearance, and all else will fall into place because while you must breed for a physical standard (including cosmetic attributes), you don't have to breed for a purpose (all the abilities to be a stockworking dog) because that's already and always "in there".

You can look at the showing of virtually any breed, any species, at least here in the US, and see that the show ring mentality encourages breeding to extremes - if a certain amount of something is good or definitive, then a lot (or an extremely little) amount is even better. Maybe somewhere in the world (UK?) breeds of some species are rewarded in the show ring for sensible, practical attributes - but I don't think that's the case here and I'm not sure that's the case in most places where there is active showing.
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#8 gcv-border

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:01 PM

Very stunning visuals of old vs. new. I actually liked the look of the 'unimproved' Sheltie.

However, I do take issue with the statement at about 35 seconds in:
"Competitive dog shows forces (sic) dogs to be judged dog to dog, not "dog to standard". This is the root of the problem with exaggeration."

I thought that dog shows did judge to a standard i.e. dogs are compared to the breed standard. They are not compared to each other.

Thus the standard and the interpretation of that standard in the show ring are two of the factors causing "extreme dogs".

Or am I misinterpreting/misunderstanding?

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#9 Sue R

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:08 PM

I think this is where exaggeration can come in - if one dog has a luxuriant coat but the next dog, of other similar characteristics, has a bit more luxuriant coat, which dog do you think will win if a luxuriant coat is part of the "standard"?
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#10 juliepoudrier

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:01 PM

Jovi,
Breeders tend to breed to and try to copy dogs that win. That's why you end up with the cookie cutter thing. The standard may call for all sorts of ears, but if judges consistently put up tipped-ear dogs, then the de facto standard becomes the tipped ear, and so all dogs are judged against and bred to look like the dogs that win.

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#11 gcv-border

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:00 PM

Jovi,
Breeders tend to breed to and try to copy dogs that win. That's why you end up with the cookie cutter thing. The standard may call for all sorts of ears, but if judges consistently put up tipped-ear dogs, then the de facto standard becomes the tipped ear, and so all dogs are judged against and bred to look like the dogs that win.

J.


Yes, I agree -- and that is why I find the whole breed standard philosophy to be misleading and dangerous. All it takes is one or two judges to decide that they like tipped-ears, and regardless of how the standard is written (e.g. all ear types are acceptable), the lemmings follow in order to chase the ribbons. So I place partial blame on certain judges who 'tweak' a breed standard to their own vision of which characteristics to reward.

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#12 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 10:23 PM

Wonderful, thought-provoking video.

Once I saw something similar but devoted solely to the German Shepherd. It's sad to think how recent the GDS's decline has really been. This video really drives home how much those arbitrary physical standards are destroying so many beautiful breeds. Nice to see that some of the "old styles" still exist, but ... they're the rarity, not the norm, and not what John Q Public knows to look for. :(

Per Julie's post:

Jovi,
Breeders tend to breed to and try to copy dogs that win. That's why you end up with the cookie cutter thing. The standard may call for all sorts of ears, but if judges consistently put up tipped-ear dogs, then the de facto standard becomes the tipped ear, and so all dogs are judged against and bred to look like the dogs that win.


I absolutely agree. The standards themselves are not to blame. When one reads them, they can even sound reasonable. For example, the Shar Pei:
"An alert, compact dog of medium size and substance; square in profile, close coupled; the well-proportioned head slightly, but not overly large for the body. The short, harsh coat, the loose skin covering the head and body, the small ears, the "hippopotamus" muzzle shape and the high set tail impart to the Shar-Pei a unique look peculiar to him alone. The loose skin and wrinkles covering the head, neck and body are superabundant in puppies but these features may be limited to the head, neck and withers in the adult."

That doesn't sound like an automatic blueprint for a dog so wrinkly and baggy he looks like he doesn't fit in his own skin. But ... the conformation judges interpret those words and choose to what put up as the breed ideal. However it comes about, over time a certain "look" becomes the norm and there we have it. Extremism, bastardization and a complete removal from any original utility function a dog once had.

I sure don't think it's any accident that all conformation border collies look alike. The breed standard may have been written with "ISDS stye" dogs in mind, with the Northumbrians and Naps and Herdman's Tommys in mind ... but the judges at the bench and the breeders who follow their tastes are what actually shapes the breed.

After all, when was the last time a smooth-coated "Nap-type" went best of anything in the AKC show ring? There's a reason those puffy-coated things rule the ring.

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#13 geonni banner

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:38 PM

It isn't only bad judging and peculiar interpretations of breeds that perpetuate this horror. The puppy-buying public is at fault as well.

I have a friend who is considering her third purchase of a Pug. She will not get a rescue, and though she is well aware of the problems inherent in that breed, she will go to a show breeder because she likes the look.

She has spent thousands at the vets for surgery to fix luxating patellas and infections of the skin in her dog's facial wrinkles. She is resigned to carrying her dog much of the time when she goes out twice a day in all weathers to a large dog park with it and her Labrador Retriever. She can see that the dog has mobility and breathing problems, and she knows why. But when a less extreme representative of the breed is suggested she all but stuffs her fingers in her ears and chants "La la la la la la la!" so as not to have to think about it.

It is a selfish, pig-headed and wicked way to be, but she insists. The dog that looks like it has been chasing parked cars is her ideal. And as long as there are people like her putting money down for deformed dogs, Pugs will be bred that look like that.

ETA - My friend also buys AKC dogs. She is aware of the AKC's support of puppy mills, and the destructive effect the organization has on purebred dogs in general, (She did not watch "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" - it was "likely to upset her.") But she sends in her blue slip and gives them money anyway. Personally, I think people should have to watch that program before getting any puppy or dog, just like you have to take a firearms safety test to buy a gun. But that isn't likely, is it?


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#14 Laurelin

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 01:48 PM

You can look at the showing of virtually any breed, any species, at least here in the US, and see that the show ring mentality encourages breeding to extremes - if a certain amount of something is good or definitive, then a lot (or an extremely little) amount is even better. Maybe somewhere in the world (UK?) breeds of some species are rewarded in the show ring for sensible, practical attributes - but I don't think that's the case here and I'm not sure that's the case in most places where there is active showing.


I would just point out that these are all British or at least European dogs by the looks of it. There were several Crufts winnerson there, the GSD was German show lines, and the setter definitely was Euro lines (if they would have used an American dog, it would have been even more extreme).

This points out the reason I will not buy another sheltie and am instead looking to a border collie for my next dog. I loved my shelties dearly, they were fabulous dogs. In even the 16 or so years since we got ours they've gotten more fluffy and extreme in head type. My only show bred sheltie was also a temperamental mess. He was not a good pet dog and would have been a terrible working or sport dog with all his fear issues.

There's some great pics of old shelties here:

http://www.portmazathe.nl/ped/statichtml/earliest.html

How I wished they still looked that way. Lerwick Jarl is considered one of the main founders of the breed and he looks more like a border collie than a modern sheltie. I think my papillons are probably halfway down that road too. It makes me very sad.

#15 rushdoggie

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 02:55 PM

How I wished they still looked that way. Lerwick Jarl is considered one of the main founders of the breed and he looks more like a border collie than a modern sheltie. I think my papillons are probably halfway down that road too. It makes me very sad.



Papillons are definitely going down that role...in the 15 years I have had them I have seen teh breed dogs move towards smaller, fluffier and more skittish.

If there were "old school" style Sheltie breeders I would have a Sheltie. But I doubt there's much of a market...the main Sheltie buyers would be breed people and pet people and neither would like them. I bet a few sports people would but as popular as they are in performance stuff, I don't think theres enough of a market. I doubt hardly anyone looks for a Sheltie for farm work.

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#16 Pam Wolf

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 03:49 PM

Concerning the shelties. We had a couple of larger scale sheltie breeders around here who had the old fashioned sort of very trainable shelties. They started breeding for 'calmer' dogs and have lost the drive in the older types. Can't figure out why they don't find the old type any more. Fact is many people think they want a dog but really need a pet rock.
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#17 geonni banner

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 05:39 PM

Concerning the shelties. We had a couple of larger scale sheltie breeders around here who had the old fashioned sort of very trainable shelties. They started breeding for 'calmer' dogs and have lost the drive in the older types. Can't figure out why they don't find the old type any more. Fact is many people think they want a dog but really need a pet rock.

It is sad that people choose a breed for the way it looks, and then either don't like the whole package or try to breed out the behavioral things they object to, or simply fail to breed for any kind of utility.

I do have to admit, though, the idea of a barkless Shetland Sheepdog is pretty appealing. :P ;)


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#18 Ooky

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 02:54 PM

I was surprised to see they used a GSD that appears to be from German show lines rather than American. While the American GSD is so heavily angulated that, well, that can't be good... It rather irks me to hear breeders of German show line dogs decry (and rightly so) the severe angulation of the American dogs then breed for the extreme (that can't be good either) roach back. They claim the roach makes for a stronger back, but I'd like to see the evidence.


Huh, interesting. Odin's good dog friend is an imported German-bred German shepherd and she doesn't look anything like the AKC ones or the bad examples used in this video, and does not have a roach back at all. She is very functional-looking, with a straight back and is of smallish-moderate size. Looks quite a bit in shape like the old style GSD shown on this video, in fact, or the conformation of the malinois they show later. She's also quite intelligent with a very good temperament, and is doing great in her nosework classes. I don't plan to have a GSD since then I'd have one less spot in my household for another bc, ;) but if I did my conviction after meeting Abby the GSD was that German-bred was certainly the way to go. This dog's owner has had several GSDs over the years and is very passionate about how AKC has ruined the breed in this country, so we get along quite well when talking dogs together.

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#19 terrecar

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 03:09 PM

Huh, interesting. Odin's good dog friend is an imported German-bred German shepherd and she doesn't look anything like the AKC ones or the bad examples used in this video, and does not have a roach back at all.


The dogs in the video are not American show lines. They are German show lines. There is a difference between German show lines and German working lines in German Shepherd Dogs.

I had a bitch from American show lines (although her rear wasn't as extreme as most) and a dog from German show lines. The dog had a roach back but a very sound temperament. The bitch had that beautiful flowing side gait but was not trusthworthy among people, and in fact was DQ'ed while being shown by a prominent handler because she snapped at a judge. I had my back yard (at the time) double fenced for her.


ETA: The point here is that when you breed dogs according to conformation show standards rather than working criteria, it tends to open the door to fads and fetishes that end up as extremes. That appears to be so even if the dogs (as in German show) also have to pass a performance test. Again, compare German show lines with European working lines.

#20 Ooky

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 04:24 PM

I understood the video had German-bred dogs, that was what I found so surprising. I'm used to seeing a fair number of AKC GSDs around and know their (awful) look. Comparatively, Abby is a functional, sound, breath of fresh air.

I think the finer point I was missing is the German show- vs. working bred distinction. For some reason I thought you couldn't breed just for show in Germany and all breeding stock needed to show proficiency of some sort in Schutzhund.

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