Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by CollieMan, Dec 12, 2008.
Full Story: BBC News
I'm not at all surprised by this. The documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, really showed the dark side of the Kennel Club. It stands accused of promoting breed standards that invariably make for very unhealthy dogs - such as the pug, the bulldog, and the GSD, for example.
After it was aired, the pet food firm, Pedigree, withdrew its sponsorship of the show while the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust also withdrew their support for the event. I think they were all absolutely right to do so.
It had always been an ambition of mine to see Crufts, as it's world-renowned as THE dog event of the year. You couldn't now pay me enough to visit it. It needs to sort itself out and recognise that it is there because of dogs. It owes those dogs the very best in terms of encouraging healthy standards, not ones which just look pleasing visually.
Pedigree Dogs Exposed
:goodpost: wow, i just watched all the lil 'related' videos, too, wow. Now i kinda feel bad for owning a purebred, but BCs history is usually they were paired for their herding abilities, not their looks, which is why even PBBCs have such diversity in their appearance. (plus, i rescued mine off death row, as opposed to supporting a puppy mill).
Interesting remark that vet said in one of those videos, it is a "beauty parade of freaks". Yeah, it's crazy, i'm trying to think which breed it is that cannot even give birth without a c-section, cuz the hips of the adult dog are too small now to accomodate the large heads of the baby dog...that is crazy.:dognowink:
Wonder/hope if this will actually get the wheels of change going? I wonder if the USA is also facing similar pressures of this magnitude to consider the health of the dogs more. I am sure this will set off a hailstorm of protest though, from the truly knowledgable and dedicated breeders..but maybe even a well-intentioned and pretty informed breeder could inadvertantly continue congenital health problems by researching thoroughly the entire backgrounds.
Now i'm curious what the bloodhounds' problems are, and the ridgebacks...googletime.
Just thinking about PBBCs, and realizing, even breeding for ability has sort of created dogs that have tendencies to be obsessive, which, if not placed in an active environment, ends up with a miserable dog and dog-owner too...for some BCs, that 'focus' is over the top, especially/or/due to: being placed in a fairly quiet home, but can be managed with tons of excercise, i've never had one like that, the kind that like, goes bananas over lights, but i've seen them on tv...oops, i'm derailing the thread, sorry.
Yes, one of the benefits of the BC is that they come from a very long history of looks being secondary to working ability, and this is still the case today. My own BC, Ellie, comes from a breeding of two working farm BCs. She's as ugly as sin but learns so quickly.
With regards to the ridgeback issues, if I recall it was to do with their spines, but I can't remember exactly what it was. The bloodhound - I think it was the weight and the wrinkling of the fur, but I'm not sure about that one.
The really sad case was the German Shepherd Dog. This, I have to say, has largely come from America, but is now becoming more commonplace for the UK shows now too. They showed GSDs that can barely walk on their rear legs because the back is now sloping so much. It was just awful to watch. I hope we can pull that breed back to its former glory and majestic beauty before it's too late.
I just want to say that while I personally am not into dog shows I think that this is the stupidest decision. Why would they expect the kennel club exclude breeds that it promotes and registers from the biggest dog show in the country? And while there are lots of health related issues in dogs (in ALL breeds and in mutts) Pedigree Dogs Exposed had the worst facts ever. I am not an expert on dogs so I can't argue it really well, but I love this blog on it:
All good dog breeders out there actively work to get rid of the health issues in their breed and are basically funding almost all the research out there. And really the dogs with the most health problems are the popular goldens and no one wants to get rid of those! And while I do think it's sad that the dog shows don't care if your dog has tested positive on some test part of the judging is on the dogs structure which means better health. Even the brachycephalic dogs can breathe fine if they are of good breeding. Really most of the Pedigree Dogs Exposed show was on the crappy breeders out there who care only about titles regardless of the cost to the breed. And while there are a ton of crap breeders out there, the good breeders of the dog world are the ones breeding for health (including structure and movement), temperament, and then type and are really the ones trying to fix the health problems in their breeds.
I love that there is a diversity of opinion, but I'm bound to ask two questions:
1. What authority does this blog author have to answer such questions? Might be a real expert on all matters of dog for all I know, but I can't find his or her qualification. Without that, it's just another dog-owning blog author stating their opinion. (Which is fine in itself, but hardly a qualification to refute the views put forth by this programme.) The BBC programme presented an array of opinions from vets, breeders, show contributors, etc. and not just that of one energetic blog author.
2. Did you actually watch the programme, or are you taking everything about it from that blog?
I have to stress that the UK KC even agreed with most of the allegations put forth by the programme, but I see that the blog author blames the KC. In fact, their apparent arrogance was the absolute icing on the cake.
The reality, it struck me and millions of others, was that both sides were to blame. The KC for making standards that are almost exlusively based on appearance as opposed to health matters, and the breed clubs for not standing up to the KC and defending the welfare of their chosen breed over the appearance of it.
I should also point that that, as far as I am aware, nobody has even attempted to take the BBC to court over any misrepresentation of the facts they presented on the programme. Sure, the KC did a little sabre rattling the day after but then failed to act. I don't need to queston why that is. Now, if anyone can afford to take the BBC to court, it's the Kennel Club. Their failure to do so speaks volumes. Obviously, the facts presented were also enough to encourage the Pedigree company and The Dog's Trust to withdraw their support. They can't all be wrong, and this one blog author be right, can they?
I'm not being flippant, or at least not trying to be, but I like to know what I'm debating exactly before I jump in.
This is a subject I feel very strongly about. Sorry if I upset people here as I have a difference of opinion, but I would like to put forward another point of view as I feel it has been lost in all the media hype surrounding this.
I feel it is a shame the BBC felt they needed to air such a biased show, and that they didnt give any credit to the majority of breeders out there who work hard to ensure the continued health of their chosen breed(s). I was shocked by some of the things that came up in their show, and it angered me that a minority of cavalier breeders were happy to jeapordise the future of their breed by using a dog they knew had tested positive for a hereditary condition!
I do wonder though, why the RSCPA didn't criticise the owners of those dogs (e.g. the boxer) for allowing them to continue suffering in the way they were? In my opinion those dogs should have been euthanised before they ever got to the stage they were at when they were filmed?
I know the most about are the cocker spaniel and the border collie and will use the cocker as an example here (although the border collie is an equally good example). At the moment there are two genetic tests for the major hereditary problems in the breed, PRA and FN (which is very rare). The PRA test cost approx £100 to do, and the FN around £60. These tests have only been available for a couple of years and so in the past breeders would only know their dogs were carriers if affected puppies were born, and so were then able to remove them and closely related dogs from their breeding programmes (and yes, breeders did help fund research into developing these genetic tests, along with submitting samples for the scientists to work with). Responsible breeders are doing both tests prior to breeding and ensuring that affected puppies are not produced (concentrating only on using genetically clear dogs would reduce the gene pool...obviously the aim is to work towards eradicating these problems from the breed completely, but this will take time). Hip dysplasia used to be a problem in cockers (and it appears, but has not been proven that genetics may have a part to play in the development of the condition). Due to the dedication of breeders it has now largely been eradicated in the breed (most cockers with hip problems go back to dogs bred by irresponsible puppy farmers somewhere). In addition the majority of breed clubs do actively promote good health and welfare within their breed, regularly publishing health updates, funding research and ensuring the breed club guidelines/conditions of membership encourages healthy, sound dogs that are bred responsibly if they are of sufficient merit to be worthy of breeding from.
I am proud to own my 'pedigree' dogs that are from health tested parents. I know none of them will be affected by the hereditary conditions that they/their parents have been tested for. IMO when these tests are available there is no excuse for breeders not doing them, and yes, X-breeds can be affected by hereditary conditions so their parents should be tested before being bred from too...the PRA mutation for example came about before most breeds were established, and so a lot of breeds are affected and dogs with mixed parentage could still be affected by the condition.
Interestingly Pedigree still had a stand at LKA Championship show yesterday...I dont think even they know where they stand on this topic anymore! It seems they are boycotting Crufts but still attending other Ch dog shows!
TBH I am glad the BBC isnt going to air Crufts, and I hope they never do so again...their coverage has never been that great and I very much doubt that in the light of their recent programme they would produce a good and fair show?
collieman...the GSD is largely influenced by the fashions in its home country...Germany...not sure what America has got to do with it? Also, the border collie is not without faults...there are several hereditary problems in the breed (regardless of whether they are working or show-bred), and it is actually show breeders (yes, some BC's are bred with looks as one of the priorities) who tend to be putting their dogs though health tests, and not the working breeders.
I'm not saying that I agree with 100% of what the blogger says, or disagree 100% with the show (which I did watch). As for her credentials she's not an expert, she is a breeder (of danes for years, and then left danes since she couldn't meet the goals she had for their health issues and went to cardigan corgis) she she is just another dog owning blogger out there, but one who is heavily involved with the breeding, showing, performance, and genetics of dogs. And while she may not have been the best link to post on a different viewpoint, but she is definitely not the only one.
Good breeders know that a championship just means their dog meets the type standard. Which is why a good breeder won't breed a dog who has behavioral issues, or health issues. And many breeders of certain breeds also won't breed dogs who don't also have a title in what they were bred to do (ex. the toller club does not give their championship to dogs who don't also have a field title). So while the KC and AKC give out the conformation titles, the breed clubs set other standards that breeders are expected to follow. Many require extensive health testing on the dogs. I agree that some things do need to change, but I don't think the KC can change their standards to allow for health tests, temperament, field titles, etc. to be a requirement for a championship. For many tests the dogs need to be a certain age in order to be tested and it needs to be repeated every year. With a health requirement, young dogs could not be shown. Also many breeders don't spend the hundreds of dollars it costs to check for every dog they own, only dogs they plan on breeding. And like I said, the breed clubs do set additional standards.
I agree that there are severe health problems in many breeds. But I do think it's the good breeders funding the research to help it. If they were to change the standards of certain breeds to say lengthen the nose, that wouldn't just effect pugs, and pekes, that would also affect even boxers and cockers. But I think it's important to know that well bred pekes and pugs, etc. don't have the breathing problems of the crappy ones. And most of the breeds mentioned in the show live a long, happy life. There are health problems, but I don't think those breeds are in crisis. No one would deny that goldens have tons of health issues, but no one wants to change their standard. Oh, and at the website of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of United States- Health and Wellness Commitee, dermoid sinus is not because they have a ridge. It plagues the breed, but only one case has even formed under the ridge.
Oh and I don't really have any authority either to answer these questions, anymore then you do. I just don't want to throw out all the breeds because of some rare health issues.
I can accept just about all you wrote in your reply, but to the bes tof my knowledge, that is just absolutely and categorically flat-out wrong. The Americans, and I thought this was widely accepted, have exaggerated the sloping back of the GSD in the show line, not the Germans. (Remember, we are talking show lines here, not working lines.) There is more about it in this page than I could ever write down without numbing my fingers. There are several thousands of other pages which also go into the differences, and if needs be, I'll even post you a book as I see you are in the UK. The Germans, despite your belief to the contrary, detest it.
Even the working lines aren't really the same. I think it fair to say that in comparison to the Czech and German bloodlines, the American lines are far more prone to weak nerves. I had this confirmed only a few weeks back by a dog-walking friend of mine, an ex-army and current security dog trainer, who confirmed that they now import their dogs from Czech and Germany as they are far more likely to have steady nerve.
With regards to the rest of your post, it's your opinion and I always enjoy reading different opinions, even if I don't always agree with them.
I wasn't trying to suggest that the BC is in any way immune to hereditary health issues, but rather that it is one of the few breeds (there are others) which are still primarily bred for ability over looks. I'll presume that you are aware of the furore that came about when, in 1994, the AKC began to hint that the BC would no longer be able to compete in performance only events and had to be fully recognised as a show breed? I think this is more along the point that I and tigerlily were making. There is a strong (though, on the whole, losing) resistance to the BC being considered a show dog or having the KC change what has been a hugely successful breed, through its often spurious 'improvements'.
Source: Border Wars
Interesting debate though, and at least we're both pleased that the BBC has withdrawn their support, just perhaps for differing reasons. Though I would contest your view that they wouldn't or couldn't air a fair show. I don't see how a show created by the producers of the documentary section of the BBC would have any say on how the producers of Crufts would work. If that is how people worked, you and I wouldn't disagree.
This is where I'm always confused when looking for a pup. Most breeders around here go for "versatility"---in terms of BCs, meaning they are athletically capable of competing in physically demanding sports(agility, flyball, etc) but can also do farm work and compete successfully in conformation shows. If they can compete in the latter, then they have to meet the so-called "breed standard" made by whichever registration is in charge of the competition. This worries me because it's the obsession with meeting this standard that starts the chain of genetic health problems... Of course you want to find a quality BC, but at the very tip-top of the list, above all else, you want a healthy dog. Despite the fact that I love rescues and see the benefit in rescuing a BC in need, the only way to know the dog's exact history is to go through either the breeders mentioned above, a not exactly quality but healthy farm-bred dog, or luck upon a quality farm breeder.
My BC was a rescue, and my BC/heeler came from working stock. But when looking for a quality BC, I'm always at a loss. Of course, as mentioned before, BCs are far less likely to have health issues than say a Bulldog.
In terms of dogs, US seems to have the worst reputation for shoving breeds downhill. (Fellow Americans, don't attack me.) If want the best of quality GSD, America has the worst, while Germany and Czechoslovakia are highest in ranking. If I remember right, the Czechs do not allow any GSD breedings at all unless approved. You can't just go buy two GSDs and decide to have pups. All breedings must be approved, all owners must be approved, and every dog is registered. They thrive to maintain a high quality dog. Their training methods are less than satisfactory, but most of their dogs are excellent. However, GSDs in Czechoslovakia are bred for Schutzhund and police work. Because of their careful breeding maintenance and reputation for remarkable Schutzhund dogs, thousands upon thousands of dogs are imported from the Czechs all over the world for police work and Schutzhund trials.
If you want a quality Rottie, it is most likely not American bred. The best breeders here in the US have imported all of their breeding stock from different countries. GSDs? Breeders who have home-bred, American GSDs are almost unheard of. Even Labs vary drastically. English labs and American labs have quite a few differences, mainly size and temperament.
This is NOT to say that your American-bred dog is a "bad" one. In terms of health and quality, other countries surpass the US quite easily. It's a shame really. I didn't realize the UK was having the same issue with purebreds, but I'm not surprised either.
If you look at the recent Sieger's (the World Champions of GSD's...held in Germany) you will find they have a tendency to a 'roached' back. (I'm not going to single out kennels here, but a google search will find you many examples). This does have a huge influence on the breed as people in other countries do aspire to have dogs of similar type to those successful in this competition. (and, yes, I am aware that the dogs do have to prove they can work (and the tests they have are very demanding), so I dont think these dogs can really be classified as 'show-type', but they do influence the 'show-lines' in the UK?).
Yes, for those people I know that do work GSD's the Czech dogs are quite popular, like tx_cowgirl said most are bred for Schutzhund/police work. The 'English-type' are also favoured by some working people, and are much straighter in the back than most breed judges prefer (although some still prefer that type). The GSD in the UK is quite varied in type.
The AKC is a bit different to the KC. in the U.K.?
Here to make up a full champion in a breed that traditionally worked it must prove it is capable of performing that job (BC's have a basic herding test, cockers a gundog working test). If they dont take this test (or fail it) they are referred to as Show Champions, not Champions. The cocker spaniel has branched off to become so different that show and working types are rarely mixed, but there has been no call to term a Show Champion a Full Champion?
I agree with you that more BC's are registered on working registers (either ISDS, or as working sheepdogs on the KC register). However, the BC has one of the highest number of entries at breed Ch. shows of any of the pastoral breeds, which I think this proves that some BC's are bred specifically for the show ring?
The best breeders do hold health, soundness and good temperament at the forefront of their breeding programmes, and after that the attributes they value in their breed, whether they be working or aesthetic abilities, or both, and I think they deserve credit for the hard-work they do and the sacrifices they make. Those breeders do not deserve to be tarred with the same brush as those who have contributed to the problems highlighted recently.
It seems out of all the friends I've made over 22+ years of working for international companies my fellow Americans are the most likely to impulse buy and to buy mill puppies, buy from hobby breeders, pet shops, or back yard breeders. Just direct observation of 100's of families working at several international companies where I worked. This is the reason most genetic health issues proliferate. Not that there aren't mills everywhere; in the US maybe we are more sheltered by lack of media coverage from unsavory details of mill life. Frankly if Crufts were in the US I don't think it would have been dropped from a large broadcaster which says a lot about the power of dog/money politics. US laws are some of the most reactive (BSL), hard to prosecute (fighting/cruelty/neglect), lightly sentenced (no jail time for abuse), and under-enforced because most people are not aware what is happening in their own states.
People in every country could do more breed research before buying for a look. I dread the Marley movie as much as every re-release of 101 Dalmatians. My SIL bought a Dalmatian puppy after the 101 movie and it ended up being an unexercised, untrained, unneutered menace that she controlled on seldom walks with a horse whip. Marley is the perfect story of a dog you shouldn't buy from a very bad breeder. But the movie becomes reality when everyone wants a Marley (when really they shouldn't) because the movie dogs are so cute and well trained. Many of the "Marley" dogs were rescues BTW. YAY! While the author's attempt to put humor into the situation is skillful but angers me with its ignorance. It's so sad that we're embracing the laughability of this poorly bred dog's temperament and his injuries. Storm fear so strong that only a concrete bunker could contain him is pretty unfunny IMHO. And no corrective training??
A few breed clubs have banded together so tightly that they've eliminated certain diseases from their lines by requiring approval as mentioned about GSD's. While the Labs and Goldens (I have two) and LabDoodles GoldenDoodles have proliferated at epidemic levels near me b/c they are touted as "perfect" family dogs. They are NOT perfect family dogs they are working dogs. None of the families I know have any idea their LGdoodley mixes are bred to be working dogs and have no idea they are hyper because they need direction, work, and exercise. All of the loose roaming dogs that have attacked and bitten my leashed puppy were Labs.
I get mad every time I hear someone buys an "AKC" puppy at a mall store or pet shop because responsible breeders do not sell their dogs there EVER. These are mill puppies. "Rescuing" one means that thousands of others are tortured and bred regardless of genetic disease because those dollars go right to auction buying more "pure bred" dogs. Responsible breeders also don't sell dogs on the internet or in the paper, mills do. So if you want to buy a dog with a breed standard and temperament that is great. That's what I did and I do feel reassured my new puppy won't die young or painfully of a preventable disease. Just research the breed and its needs, temperament quirks (are you willing to deal?), go to reputable breeders, know what a RB is and how to find it.
A reputable breeder will give you the nth degree about lifestyle, where the dog will sleep, require at least some formal training, do you have a fenced yard, who will feed/train/exercise the dog, how much exercise, they may want to pick your puppy for you after temperament testing the litter (don't be insulted), how many children and how old, and they will want references and check them. My last pup's breeder called all my trainers and asked what kind of dog I was capable of training. It took months to find her and many hours of work proving I would be a good owner.
So I am glad this situation has arisen but sad that the responsible breeders out there will suffer. I hope the US and others take notice. I would love to see breed clubs band tightly and get serious about genetic disease. I am sorry too if anyone takes offence but dog health should be more important than it currently is.
Stormi, I do agree....BCs are indeed bred on separate spectrums. Many are bred specifically for the show ring, many bred for the farm, and now supposedly for all of these.
Snooks, I don't see Marley's movie doing much....labs already rule the American dog population(or at least rank in the top 3 breeds). But, I wouldn't be surprised if Labs in pet stores showed up more often than lint in the dryer. I have read the book, and I admit I did enjoy it. I think the author's intent was simply to share the story of his much-loved dog, just as millions of other dog owners have. But, and no offense to him, he is just another one of the millions of dog owners who have "problem" dogs and never do anything about it.
I was very young when 101 Dalmations came out but I remember it was my favorite movie. But we HAD Dalmations. Countless people told my family to get rid of the dogs if they wanted my brother and I to live to see tomorrow. We were told that Dalmations were "worse that Pit Bulls," "unpredictable," "would lick you in the face then turn around and chew your face off," "would take your kids one day," etc. My parents replied that they worried their children weren't safe if the dogs weren't around. My mother grew up with a Dally, and he slept at her bedroom window every night till his death. Our Dallies were the ones that let us know some dogs were attacking our horses on an icy winter day while we were busy doing housework and homework inside. They kept me out of run-ins with snakes, strange dogs, various wild animals, and who knows what else. I no longer have them, but they remain one of my favorite breeds. To this day I am infuriated when I hear about how bad Dallies are, and I still can't contain myself from ranting to anyone who tells me this. People all over the world saw 101 Dalmations and bought their children this wonderful family dog thinking it was a perfect dog in a cute spotted package who would never need anything to stay happy.
If I remember right, Labs lead the nation in dog bites. Goldies are another breed that really bother me...not the breed itself, but the people who get them. Any long-haired breed. Everyone wants an adorable puppy who will become a gorgeous dog, but no one wants the grooming maintenance. I can't count on my whole family's hands how many unbelievably matted dogs of all breeds that I see on a daily basis. And yes, every one of them are ill-behaved, and we all know why.
So many people who see me with my dogs question how I could handle the breeds I have. "Border Collies are crazy and uncontrollable. How do you handle them???" "Pits are so unpredictable. How can you trust him in public?" (Rusty's not full or even half anything, but whatever.) But the fact is, any breed of dog can be a "good dog" if the owner will take the time to help it become the dog they want it to be.
It all does come back to the people and the breeders. You are correct TXCG. In the town near us with a breed ban; 11 bites were from banned breeds but 150+ by their own count last year were from non-banned breeds. This makes no sense to me except that it's very reactive as much legislation can be.
I agree with the maintenance issue too. With three total Goldens from very good breeders that was one of the questions they asked. Are you ready for the hair and brushing etc. I was. We actually do brushing as a nightly ritual to and relaxation practice. I'm waiting for the fur tumble weeds to re-knit into carpet on the hardwood.
I just hate to see demand puppies bred around movies which proliferate problems like hip dysplasia etc. when done by people who don't know what OFA is. It bugs me to have a movie about getting a dog from an inappropriate breeder sort of glamorize going about this uneducated and encouraging what the Crufts event is trying to stop.
Oh an my point about the Dalmatian was not that the dog was bad but that my brother and SIL were bad. They didn't meet his needs and he was a frustrated dog, not his fault. Just meant that the reason for getting the dog was wrong. Impulse, a gift, a movie, a look, a doll to dress, a celebrity look alike, teach kids responsibility, and using as a lawn ornament are all bad reasons to get a dog. These reasons drive the episodic bad breeding and genetic disease.
The responsible breeders are suffering. After the programme the demand for non-KC registered puppies (which are often produced by commercial breeders/puppy farms who have little interest in the health and well-being of their puppies, or the dogs they breed from) went up (because the programme implied it is only KC reg. dogs that have problems, so obviously these dogs are OK!?!). In addition, since the programme some responsible breeders of 'registered pedigree' dogs (and in that I include pure-breds and X-breeds whose ancestory is recorded by the Kennel Club) are finding it hard to sell their carefully bred puppies when they have never had problems in the past (although X-breeds have not suffered as much because the programme portrayed them as being more healthy. However, as I pointed out above X-breeds can be affected by hereditary conditions if they are not carefully bred, so just because a dog is not of a named breed doesnt mean it will be healthy).
I dont take offence to your comment snooks, and agree with you that a sound body and mind should be the priority for ALL breeders. However I would like to add...more important than it currently is...to some people. I know of many people/breeders that value health above anything else.
Out of curiosity, how was this measured, and where can I read the findings?
As far as I'm aware an official study has not been published; sales of non-KC reg. puppies aren't recorded in the way KC reg. puppies are so it could be difficult?
I based my statement on what I have heard and observed recently. There has been an increase in the number of puppy enquiries to breeders and breed clubs for non-KC registered puppies. Also some of the people coming off breeders puppy lists have said that they now dont want a KC reg. puppy. Both these things infer to me that there is increased demand for non-KC reg. puppies.
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