The Westminster Dog Show is the most prestigious of all dog shows. Breeders spend decades attempting to perfect their packs in hopes of competeing or winning “Best in show”.
Westminister has done many things for dog breeds over the years and one of those is contributing to ruining once majestic, healthy, working dogs.
Many animal activists and animal lovers are beginning to wonder about the ethicality of breeding dogs for what judges want to see in the show ring rather than breeders producing healthy, long-living animals.
One common practice that is becoming less popular for pet owners but is still mandantory in the show ring among dogs like the Doberman Pinscher and the Boxer is ear cropping & tail docking. There are currently only two reputable veterinarians in central Indiana that will crop a dogs ears and doc tails.
This practice is considered purely cosmetic and has little to no benefit for the dog. The Westminster Dog Show requires some breeds to endure this practice to meet breed standard. Some dogs like Pit Bulls (recognized by the UKC) often receive botched jobs and end up suffering from ear infections and nerve damage just so that they may compete in competition.
Other breeds of dogs have also been plagued by not only breed standard, but what judges like to see in the show ring. German shepherds, Collies, and English Bulldogs are just three breeds that have been crippled by their breed standard look.
The German Shepherd was originally a herding and guard dog bred in Germany in the early 1900’s. The American and German lines of this breed have gone far to the wayside of what this dog once was. The German Shepherd is now prone to diseases like hip and elbow dysplasia, their skeletal structure no longer allows them to perform their working duties. Because of their poor skeletal structure and predisposition to health problems American and German line shepherds are very rarely being used in police work.
The collie was recognized by the AKC in 1885 as a herding type dog and was made popular by the famous television show Lassie. They are a devoted, graceful and proud breed that has only won one Westminster dog show. In recent years, the ‘color headed white’ variation has caused accidental merle to merle breeding which causes dogs like Malakai to be born. Lethal white dogs like Malakai are often born deaf and blind. Over the years collies have been bred to have long slender heads. This has reduced the size of their skull and has caused the dogs to become prone to several eye problems like CEA, skin problems, bloat, intestinal problems and other problems.
The English Bulldog was once a small agile dog used for bull baiting. What was once a short nosed muscular dog has become a smashed face wrinkly, fat mess of healthy problems. These dogs often time need to have flaps of skin removed from their throats and sinuses so that they can breathe. Their heads have become so large they need to be born by c-section and have fairly short life-spans.
The before and after photos of the dogs listed are both breed standard and yet the modern version is riddled with medical problems. Even though the modern dog may win classes, they live short lives and they are not healthy.
What is the price of winning?
I personally have strong feelings regarding dog breeding, and after adopting my first ever pure-bred dog I don’t think I will ever do it again.
Malakai is the best dog I have ever owned, but due to irresponsible breeding and people buying into the pure-breed scheme I feel that more dogs are being hurt than benefited from such skewed versions of breed standards.
Is your dog purebred? Did you buy from a breeder? Would you do it again? Why or why not?