Where do the choices end and standards
by CinDee Byer
REPRINTED WITH THE
PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
column deals with docking and cropping the battle cry of "choice" in
breed standards is a thriving cancer in both performance and
conformation worlds. Where it actually began no one really knows.
Some breed people point at obedience (performance) exhibitors who
may have a lower quality of dog and want to justify their position
in the breed. However some of the newcomers on the breed side have
not been taught the proper history of their breeds and hence apathy
is on the rise in the world of conformation as well.
topic" today is adding ears and tails to the standards of
historically cropped and docked breeds but the battle cry of
"choice" can be heard throughout the entire fancy.
We have all
heard members of the "Boo Hoo" club as they leave the ring
We have all
heard them knocking at our standard's door screaming, "choice, we
should have choice".
You can hear
them complaining, "so what if my dog is not the right color, shape
or size". "So what if he isn't cropped and/or docked, and is missing
ten teeth, or three legs for all it matters. I SHOULD HAVE A
CHOICE on how I want to show my dog. And I should be able to win
choice, choice, yeah and I want to wear a string bikini when I run
around the breed ring on a hot summer's day. Believe me it won't get
any points with the male judges but it may scare my competitors
is, we do have a choice. We choose the breed of dog
from the hundreds that are available to us. We choose the
breeder from the thousands of breeders around the world. We
make the choice on whether we choose the good, the bad or the ugly
and we should be held accountable for those choices. We choose how
we will raise our dog or dogs. We can choose to show a particular
dog and if we exhibit that dog it is we who decide what shows we
will enter and who we will exhibit under. We decide if we
want to breed our dog, special it or give up and resign ourselves to
watching dog shows on Animal Planet. If our dog doesn't excel we can
choose whether to grumble about our dog's shortcomings, strive for a
better specimen next time or choose a different breed of dog.
Along with the
"Boo Hoo" club there is a new club crying "choice". It is the
"Club of Justification". These are the people who actually
come up with ridiculous arguments as to why their dog is better than
the one described in the breed standard. Membership in this club is
growing fast. It includes some competitors of performance events who
ended up with a dog that perhaps was not docked or cropped and is
not up to the breed's standards, now they feel they need to make a
statement. Included in the "Club of Justification" are those
breeders who have decided to crop only a few pups out of a litter
for the savings of money and the convenience and now they are using
"choice" as the sales pitch to the less informed. And the newest
members of the "Club of Justification" are up and coming
chiropractic "experts" who are in the process of building a practice
based on myths, claiming that dogs need their tails and ears to
balance and without them they need A LOT OF CHIROPRACTIC
ADJUSTMENTS! Oh yeah, at my house we're always picking up our
poor cropped and docked Dobes because "they've fallen and they can't
person who I admired and who competes in Agility with Rotties said
to me, "I don't care if they get rid of docking tomorrow. My Rotties
would have better balance in agility if they had tails". Hey people,
if tails and ears are so great for balance why aren't we seeing more
basset hounds and bloodhounds winning top awards in agility? What
about the one hundred fifty pound Saint Bernard? They've got tails
and ears, heck they should be at the top of the agility list as
To some I'm
preaching to the choir so bear with me but apparently it needs to be
said! Each breed was designed to do a specific task. The Rottie is a
powerful, intelligent and magnificent breed but the "butcher's dog"
was not walking tight ropes to prove it's worth. That is what a
standard is all about. If you can't understand this, perhaps to
prove a point, I should buy a Chihuahua, then complain because it
can't pull a sled and enter the Iditarod. Do you see how ridiculous
this argument is? If we spent more time studying standards and the
history of a breed instead of complaining, perhaps we would make
better selections when choosing a breed and /or an event that we
wish to compete in. We might even pick a breed that is compatible to
the sport we want to over achieve in, imagine that! If the
breed you selected does not excel in the event you chose, and you're
"boo hooing" about it; BUY ANOTHER BREED OF DOG!
problem with the "choice" argument when it comes to cropping and
docking is how choice seems to go only one way. You don't hear
anyone wanting to add cropping and docking to breed standards that
have historically dropped ears and long tails and why not? Can't you
just see it now? Cockers and Bassets running around the ring all
neatly cropped. Sure we can have separate classes too, just adds to
that good ole choice. Yes I can see it now, any owner, of any dog,
who is experiencing chronic ear infections should have a choice
to crop, to show that dog cropped and of course TO WIN, after
all it is only good animal husbandry!
Gee and that's
only the beginning. Afghans, Whippets or what have you with broken
tails can now have them docked and can be shown in the new improved
tail-less class! Where does it end? Once we open Pandora's box we
could have special classes for Poodles who aren't properly groomed,
the flat faced Borzoi, the long muzzled Pug and don't forget the
classes for spayed and neutered dogs and bitches. All these can be
someone's choices as well, be it good or bad. With the new addition
of choice in our standards, dogs and bitches in the breed rings will
look more like Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head with interchangeable
parts. And with standards that say, "Have it your way" we will have
to start handing out paper hats to our judges as their job will
resemble that of a fast food restaurant manager rather someone who
is judging a breed of dog. .
really don't care if you have an uncropped Dobe or a Rottie with a
gay tail. That is your choice. I don't care if you have a bald Boxer
or a dog with five legs. You have every right to own what ever you
wish in whatever way you like it, but don't bring Kool-Aid to a wine
tasting competition and complain because it hasn't won a gold medal.
Don't expect the vintage wine maker to change his Bordeaux into a
"Fruity Punch" because you want all the wineries to offer the
sugary goodness of a powdered drink mix! Occasionally we have to
stop allowing people to hide behind the choice word and stand
up for our breeds, their history and the standard.
The real point
here should be to make people responsible for the choices they do
make. When you order steak don't complain because it doesn't taste
like lobster! We must make people realize that when
they choose a breed they accept all the pre-existing conditions of
that breed's standard.
must understand that choice added to a breed's standard is
just another tactic used by animal rights radicals to divide and
conquer the fancy. When we are talking about docking and cropping
changing standards in any way is the opening that the
radicals need to force their views on us and our breeds. By
opening our standards to this kind of review we give the radicals
the opportunity they need to accomplish their goals.
around the world agree that the radicals work in incremental steps.
Once this kind of "choice" is in place the resulting action later on
then becomes the banning of these wonderful procedures and finally
the elimination of each of the affected breeds! Yes, my dear, the
radicals are using "choice" as a weapon of destruction;
don't allow them to manipulate you! Defend your breed's standard!
are also known to "work on the personal weaknesses of powerful
people". Judges, be aware, don't allow yourself to be a tool of the
radicals, if it is too difficult for you to make a decision based on
how a breed's standard is written, don't apply to judge that breed.
The choice really is up to ALL of you. "Where do
the choices end and the standards begin?" Do you want breeds
of dogs with individual standards or single breed with endless
choices? We are the AMERICAN Kennel Club don't let the radicals take
that choice away.
wonderful breed you chose, be proud, and continue to keep that bar
high. And when members of the "choice" club come knocking at
your door just tell them to cry on someone else's doorstep because
you made the right choice the first time around!