Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Conformation friends... don't hate me!

Day three of my blog and I'm already on a soapbox. All of my doggie friends are all hyped up on the Westminster Kennel Club show. But I'll let you in on a secret.... it makes me angry. It didn't use to, but the more I know about Border Collies (BC) the more I see the sham of a dog the breed ring presents to the world as a BC.

Here is an example. This dog photo is from the Westminster website, and it is the photo that pops up when you click on "Border Collie." This is clearly a BC, probably caught at work, demonstrating the unique "collie eye" that they are known for. This breed was bred specifically to work- running many miles in a day, collecting sheep or other livestock, spending the days (and sometimes the nights) working outdoors, often alone, making decisions without the aid of a handler. This animal is an engineering miracle...
then there is this:

This is a dog from the same lines as last night's winner. This dog was bred to have a pretty "top line" and soft eyes. It has a lovely lush coat. There is nothing wrong with those things except that they are the result of selective breeding that is totally ignoring the attributes that make BCs what they are supposed to be-smart, fast, tough, low maintenance farm hands. Can you honestly see this dog working on a farm? And EVERY dog in the breed ring looked like this... there wasn't one that looked like their example. And even more irritating to me is that NOT ONE of those dogs had a herding, obedience or agility title. Not one.
The Border Collie Society of America fought to KEEP border collie from getting an AKC registration for just this reason. Despite the promises to keep true to the working origins of this magnificent breed, it has taken only 15 or so years to wreck it.

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