Tag: kennel club
As that annual parade of the pedigreed known as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show unfolded at Madison Square Garden, there has been a debate over purebred dogs going on in the pages of the New York Times, at least its digital ones.
It’s worth checking out, especially, in my view, two of the opinion pieces from two of my favorite dog experts.
Alexandra Horowitz, professor of psychology at Barnard College and author of “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know,” hits on several important points in a piece focused mainly on the link between breed standards and inherited disorders.
She cites research showing that, among the most popular breeds, almost every one has developed some type of inherited disorder stemming from breed standards that prescribe how a dog should look.
Bulldogs and pugs have broad and shortened heads that lead to obstructions in breathing. Many large breeds have debilitating hip and elbow dysplasias. Shar-Peis, because of their wrinkly skin, are prone to eye ulcerations. The Cavalier King Charles spaniel may have a brain that grows too large for its skull, an extremely painful condition called syringomyelia.
By changing the breed standards — making them more health-contingent than looks-contingent, the health of dozens of breeds could be improved, she notes.
Horowitz also addresses the matter of personality. Although AKC breed standards make it sound like a dog’s personality is genetically determined, that’s not the case, she says.
” … A dog is not merchandise whose behavior (outside of a few hard-wired ones, like pointing) can be predicted ahead of time.
“While many owners may see breed-typical personalities in their dogs (we humans do tend to spot just the evidence which supports our theories), there is simply no guarantee that a dog will behave just so. Witness the cases of cloned — genetically identical — pets who have, to their owners’ great surprise, quite different personalities.”
Making it sound like the personality of all dogs can be predicted by what breed they are is problematic, she notes.
“When a dog does not behave in accordance with her ‘billing,’ owners call this a ‘behavior problem’ — the single greatest reason for relinquishment of a dog to a shelter. Thus, inadvertently, breed standards lead potential adopters to treat them more like products with reliable features.
“Dogs are individuals, and should be treated thusly.”
In another piece presented in the Times “Room for Debate” feature, James Serpell, the Marie Moore professor of animal welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society, looks at what kennel clubs, dog shows and the breed standards they espouse, has led to.
For one, inbreeding, as a way to produce dogs that most closely fit the written standards, or in some cases the interpretation thereof.
“Not only were the original gene pools of many breeds very small to begin with, but breeders have also accentuated the problem by selectively breeding from relatively small numbers of “champion sires” and/or by mating together closely related individuals.
“Nowadays, many breeds are highly inbred and express an extraordinary variety of genetic defects as a consequence: defects ranging from anatomical problems, like hip dysplasia, that cause chronic suffering, to impaired immune function and loss of resistance to fatal diseases like cancer. The only sensible way out of this genetic dead-end is through selective out-crossing with dogs from other breeds, but this is considered anathema by most breeders since it would inevitably affect the genetic “purity” of their breeds…”
“When standards do more harm than good, they should either be revised or abandoned altogether. We owe it to the dogs.”
A compelling argument is also made by Mark Derr, an author who was among the first to bring attention to the problems that have been created in the quest for purity and predictability: “It is long past time to make changes to standards that improve dogs’ lives or discontinue their breeding,” he concludes.
Less in line with my thinking — but I”ll point you to it, anyway – was a piece submitted by Lilian Barber, who breeds, judges and writes about Italian greyhounds.
Barber, president of the Kennel Club of Palm Springs, Calif., argues that breed standards are about more than appearance.
“Breeding dogs that fit a written standard isn’t just about appearance. Different breeds have different traits. It’s like choosing a vehicle. In many cases a two-door sedan will suffice, but sometimes a truck is needed.”
She continues, fortunately shifting out of the motor vehicle analogy:
”Most breeders of purebreds support research regarding the genetic health of their breeds and plan their matings carefully to insure that the offspring will be healthy. It would make little sense to put time, effort, money and passion into breeding unhealthy dogs … Those dogs are a huge and vital part of our lives.”
You can find links to all the opinion pieces here.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alexandra horowitz, animals, breed standards, breeds, cloning, debate, dog, dog shows, dogs, experts, genetic, genetics, health, inbreeding, inherited, james serpell, kennel club, mark derr, new york times, opinions, personality, pets, problems, purebreds, room for debate, standards, traits, westminster
Seeing some doggie dance moves it finds inappropriate, the Kennel Club in the UK is cracking down, outlawing some “extreme” and “unnatural” steps it says could injure dogs.
Effective next year, certain moves, though they haven’t been outlined yet, will be banned when it comes to dancing dogs – a pursuit that has become increasingly popular since Pudsey (above) appeared on and won “Britain’s Got Talent.”
“Heelwork to music,” as it’s called has been regulated by the Kennel Club since 2002. There are about 90 affiliated clubs that offer dog dancing events.
The Telegraph reports that the rule changes are in response to the rising number of people and dogs taking part in the activity after 16-year-old Ashleigh Butler and her dog wowed the judges on “Britain’s Got Talent.” There has been a 20 per cent increase in the activity since then, and the club is worried that, amid stiffer competition, too much might be demanded of performing dogs.
The Kennel Club has taken steps to ban moves that could injure dogs, as well as treatment it considers ”degrading” to the dogs, such as putting them in fancy costumes for performances. (Fancy costumes can still be worn by their human dance partners, though).
While no list of accepted and banned moves has been released yet, those that reportedly concern the Kennel Club include the “wheelbarrow,” where the dog’s hind legs are held by the owner as it walks; the “footstand,” where the dog stands on the raised feet of the handler while the human lies on the ground; walking on front paws; walking on hind legs for more than 10 seconds; and “shoulder jumps,” in which a dog leaps from the owner’s shoulders.
“We know that the more people we get into the sport, the more they are going to have to look to other types of moves in order to make an impact,” said Caroline Kisko, the club’s secretary. “We are trying to pre-empt that. The priority is the dog’s safety.”
Most dog shows feature two categories — “heelwork”, which is more structured, and “freestyle,” which involves more innovative tricks. The dances are scored on content, accuracy and musical interpretation.
The new regulations will formally take effect next year, when judges will disqualify any pair whose routine is deemed extreme, unnatural or degrading. Until then, the Kennel Club has asked competitors to observe them “in spirit … with immediate effect.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, ashleigh, ashleigh butler, britain's got talent, costumes, dancing, dancing dogs, dangerous, degrading, demeaning, dog, dogs, extreme, heelwork, injuries, kennel club, moves, performances, pets, pudsey, rules, tricks, uk, unnatural
A survey by the Kennel Club in the UK has found that one of every three respondents thinks a dog fits their lifestyle better than a child.
Nearly four of every ten people say a dog is a happy alternative to having a child.
And one in four say that, while their children come first, they prefer to go on outings with their dogs, according to the poll, conducted among residents of the West Midlands.
The same, apparently, goes for their spouses. According to The Express, 80 percent described their their dog as attentive and loving, while only about half said the same was true of their partner.
The Kennel Club commissioned the poll as part of its campaign to get more restaurants to allow dogs.
About half of those questioned said they had a problem finding a place to eat where their dog is welcomed.
“This research proves what a well loved member of the family a dog is in the West Midlands,” said Caroline Kisko, the Kennel Club secretary. “Given how much we love spending time with our dogs, it’s surprising there are still so many businesses in the region that refuse to allow dogs in their premises.”
As part of its campaign, the Kennel Club has compiled a website, openfordogs.org.uk, listing more than 26,000 places throughout the UK and Europe that let pets inside.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: affection, animals, campaign, children, company, dog, dog friendly, dogs, families, family, kennel club, members, outings, partners, pets, poll, restaurants, spouses, survey, uk
An 11-pound fluffball named Malachy took the Best in Show title at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last night.
It was the fourth time a Pekingese has won at Westminster, according to the Associated Press:
“This little stump of a dog beat out the likes of a Dalmatian, German shepherd, Doberman pinscher, Irish setter, a Kerry blue terrier and wire-haired dachshund. A 4-year-old pompom, Malachy wobbled to his 115th overall best in show title.”
Malachy, one of more than 2,000 purebred competitors at Madison Square Garden — representing 185 breeds — won the toy group Monday night.
“Super dog, and he had a stupendous night,” Judge Cindy Vogels said after picking him as best in show. “There’s a lot of dog in a small package.”
Malachy chilled out after his win, resting on a cooling cushion.
David Fitzpatrick, Malachy’s handler and part owner, said the dog will likely retire now in East Berlin, Pa.
“He’ll probably chase squirrels and he’ll be pampered,” Fitzpatrick said.
(Photo: Seth Wenig / Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, best in show, david fitzpatrick, dog, dog show, dog shows, dogs, kennel club, malachy, peke, pekingese, pets, westminster
Wonder why you’re not seeing any ads for Pedigree dog food during the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
Apparently, mutts like Roscoe (above) — especially homeless ones — aren’t viewed by the club as sending the right message, so they’ve cut their ties to long-time sponsor (as in 24 years) Pedigree dog foods.
Apparently, some of Pedigree’s ads — the ones promoting dog adoption, the ones featuring sad-eyed mixed breeds as opposed to well-coiffed, prancing purebreds – were just too hard-hitting and depressing for the kennel club’s tastes.
“We want people to think of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as a celebration of the dogs in our lives,” David Frei, the club’s director of communications and the host of the show for over two decades, told the Associated Press.
“Our show is a celebration of dogs. We’re not promoting purebreds at the expense of non-purebreds. We celebrate all dogs. When we’re seeing puppies behind bars, it takes away from that. Not just because it’s sad, but it’s not our message … Show me an ad with a dog with a smile; don’t try to shame me.”
Pedigree’s ads, club honchos agreed, were getting too heavy-handed.
Frei said the kennel club had expressed those concerns to Pedigree: “We told them that, and they ignored us.”
Taking a look at the newest series of ads that are part of Pedigree’s continuing efforts to encourage dog adoptions — you can see them here — I don’t see much sadness. They seem more an expression of pride. They come right out and say don’t feel sorry for me. They seem to say the shelter mutt is just as valuable, and will make just as good a pet (and we’d argue maybe even better) than a purebred.
Maybe that’s the kennel club’s problem. Maybe they want television coverage of Westminster — the big show began yesterday at Madison Square Garden — to keep the focus strictly on purebreds, which are, for it, the money makers.
Granted, some of Pedigree’s earlier adoption-oriented ads were pretty bleak in tone; and everybody (attention ASPCA and Humane Society) is getting tired of those ads that, while cool for the first two viewings, continue to tug so blatantly and repeatedly at our heartstrings we now switch the channels instantly when they come on.
Granted, too, the Westminster Dog Show is free to choose any advertisers it wants, and the American Kennel Club does fund research and offer programs that benefit all dogs, purebred or not. And, to keep things in context, it’s not necessarily dissing mutts with this particular action; it’s dissing downer, guilt-inducing adoption ads.
But it all comes across a little like snobbery; a little like denial, when it comes to the millions of dogs euthanized each year; a little like let’s stay here in our private fantasy world — not open to the unwashed masses, or those who might be of mixed breeds, even though every purebred, except the wolf, is in fact a result of mixing.
Pedigree has been replaced with Nestlé Purina PetCare, whose ads of peppy, happy dogs are more to the kennel club’s liking. The new partnership was announced last spring.
“They’ve shared with us, when we parted ways, that they felt that our advertising was focused too much on the cause of adoption and that wasn’t really a shared vision,” said Melissa Martellotti, a brand communications manager for Mars Petcare US, which makes the Pedigree brands. The kennel club, she said, is “focused on the purebred mission.”
Martellotti said the partnership had been a boon to Pedigree’s adoption initiatives. In 2007, $500,000 in pledges were received after its ads were broadcast over the show’s two days.
Nearly 3.5 million people watched last year’s show, broadcast on the USA Network and CNBC.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, ads, advertising, animals, campaign, celebrate, company, david frei, dog food, dog show, dogs, dogs in advertising, dropped, euthanized, kennel club, message, mutts, pedigree, pets, purebred, sad, shelters, sponsor, westminster, woof in advertising
Feminist Germaine Greer says the way to save Britain’s bluebells is to kill Britain’s dogs.
“If you love your bluebells, kill your dog,” the outspoken academic said at the Hay on Wye literary festival.
The phosphorous contained in dog feces is killing off a fungus, called mycorrhiza, necessary for the flowers to grow, said Greer, who owns a one-acre bluebell wood in Essex.
“…The real threat to our bluebells is not a foreign invader,” Greer is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail. “It is the use we make of the woodlands, people running through them, taking photos of each other standing on trampled bluebells.
“And, at the risk of making you all very cross, may I suggest it is also time that the British gave up on their endless love affair with the dog.”
Her comments came at the end of a panel discussion on defending “national treasures.”
A Kennel Club spokesman said: “I don’t think anyone would take Germaine Greer’s extreme and excessively anti-dog views seriously but we feel it would have been advisable that she used her platform to encourage dog owners to do the right thing and pick up after their dog to protect the countryside.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: academic, bluebell, bluebells, britain, daily mail, dogs, feces, feminist, flowers, fungus, germaine greer, gungus, hay on wye, kennel club, literary festival, love affair with the dog, mycorrhiza, phosphorous, poop, shit, threatened, uk, waste, woodlands
Ralph Ullum, 68 of Claysville, was attending a kennel club show in December at the DuPage County Fairgrounds with his girlfriend, whose Siberian husky, Diana, was entered in the competition.
He’s accused of feeding Protonix and possibly Benadryl to a competing husky, named Pixie, NBC in Chicago reported.
Pixie’s handler, Jessica Plourde of Newark Valley, N.Y., noticed a crushed pink pill near Pixie’s cage on the second day of competition, according to police. Later, witnesses came forward saying they had seen Ullum feeding and petting Pixie while Plourde was away from the cage
A veterinarian induced vomiting in Pixie and found a rubber band, dog food, chicken pieces and an undigested Protonix pill. Protonix is used to treat acid reflux and heartburn. Wheaton police say the pink crushed pill found near Pixie’s cage is believed to be Benadryl, an over the counter allergy medicine that can cause drowsiness.
Ullum denied feeding anything to Pixie, but said he did pet her.
His hearing on misdemeanor cruelty to animals charges is scheduled for June.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrest, benadryl, cheating, competition, competitors, diana, dog, dog show, dog shows, dogs, drugged, drugging, drugs, dupage county, kennel club, pennsylvania, pets, pixie, protonix, purebreds, ralph ullum, sabotage, siberian husky, wheaton
It was the breed’s first best in show win at Westminster.
Hickory — full name Foxcliffe Hickory Wind – beat out the other finalists: a Pekingese, a Shar-pei, a bearded collie, a black cocker spaniel, a Portuguese water dog and a smooth fox terrier.
“Over the moon,” is how owner Cecilia Dove described the win. “This is the first deerhound to ever win at the Garden. She’s in an elite group of one. ”
Hickory’s best in show comes after finishing third in her group last year, which her handler, Angela Lloyd blamed on big-city jitters. ”This dog isn’t used to cities or venues this size. It is used to chasing squirrels and deer all day on a big farm,” she said.
Hickory lives on Dove’s farm, outside Warrenton, Va.
“She’s got everything,” Paolo Dondina, a judge from Monterchi, Italy, said after picking Hickory. “The movement, the presence. It’s a dog for the big show.”
Hickory, according to Bloomberg.com, is named after a bluegrass song by John Duffey. Hickory succeeds Sadie, a black Scottish terrier who won Westminster last year.
About 2,600 canines from 179 breeds competed in the two-day event.
The Scottish deerhound breed dates to the 16th century, when it was used for pursuing and killing deer, and could be owned by “no one of rank lower than an earl,” according to the American Kennel Club website.
Lloyd, Hickory’s handler, said the 5-year-old, 85-pound dog loves the spotlight.
“She’s constantly making sure she’s getting attention,” Lloyd said.
Like all Westminster winners, she’ll be getting plenty of that in the days ahead, before retiring to Dove’s farm in Virginia.
Here’s a video of her first round win — she’s the third one to strut — over two other Scottish deerhounds.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bearded collie, best in show, breeds, cecilia dove, cocker spaniel, dog show, dogs, finalists, foxcliffe hickory wind, hickory, kennel club, madison square garden, pekingese, pets, portuguese water dog, results, scottish deerhound, shar-pei, shows, smooth fox terrier, virginia, westminster, westminster kennel club
If the following take on Westminster reads like its coming from some PETA hothead that’s because it is.
Then agains, hotheads are sometimes worth listening to.
Lindsay Pollard-Post is a staff writer for The PETA Foundation, and her remarks appeared in the form of a guest column in the Sacramento Bee.
Pollard-Post recounts watching Westminster in her youth, usually with a bad case of strep throat, and with her dog Katie at her side…
“But had I known then that Westminster – and the dog-breeding industry that it props up – share the blame for the mutilation and deaths of millions of dogs each year, I would have changed the channel faster than you can say ‘Sesame Street.’
“Back then, I had no idea that the snub-nosed bulldogs and pugs prancing around the ring may have been gasping for breath the whole time because these breeds’ unnaturally shortened airways make exercise and sometimes even normal breathing difficult. I didn’t know that the “wiener dogs” that made me laugh as their little legs tried to keep up may have eventually suffered from disc disease or other back problems because dachshunds are bred for extremely long spinal columns. I didn’t learn until much later that because of inbreeding and breeding for distorted physical features, approximately one in four purebred dogs suffers from serious congenital disorders such as crippling hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, heart defects, skin problems and epilepsy.
“I remember feeling shocked when I learned that Doberman pinschers’ ears naturally flop over, and that their ears only stand up because they are cut and bound with tape when the dogs are puppies. And I felt sick to my stomach when I discovered that cocker spaniels have beautiful, long, flowing tails, but American Kennel Club breed standards call for their tails to be amputated down to nubs. The American Veterinary Medical Association says that these procedures ‘are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient’ and they ’cause pain and distress.’
“… Like many people, I hadn’t made the connection that every time someone buys a purebred dog from a breeder or a pet store, a dog in a shelter – a loving animal whose life depends on being adopted – loses his or her chance at a home …
“Dog shows also encourage viewers to go out and buy purebred dogs like the ones they see on TV from breeders or pet stores. This impulse buying robs shelter dogs of homes, and even more dogs end up homeless when overwhelmed people discover that the adorable puppy they bought ruins carpets, needs expensive vaccinations and food and requires their constant attention.
“My own parents succumbed to the lure of purebreds: They purchased Katie from a breeder. Katie was an exceptional dog and my best friend, but it saddens me to think that other loving dogs waiting behind bars in shelters missed out on a good home because we thought we needed a certain breed of puppy.
“Thankfully, some things have changed. After Katie passed away, my parents adopted a lovable mutt from the local shelter. I haven’t had strep throat since I was a teenager. And if the dreaded illness strikes again, you’ll find me cuddling on the couch with my rescued dog, Pete, watching movies – not Westminster.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, american kennel club, animals, appearance, back, breeding, bulldogs, congenital, criticism, dachshunds, disease, disorders, distorted, docking, dog shows, dogs, ears, features, hip, homeless, impulse buys, inbreeding, kennel club, leg, mutts, pets, physical, problems, purebreds, shelters, tails, westminster
Construction will begin this summer in Salisbury, Maryland on a new dog park, expected to be named after a local dog lover whose family has donated most of the money to build it.
The park will be built on an undeveloped portion of the City Park off North Park Drive, behind the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center’s parking lot.
The project is expected to cost about $30,000, DelmarvaNow.com reported.
The park will have 14,000 square feet of open space for large dogs and a separate section of 8,000 square feet for small dogs.
Plans call for the fenced-in park to be named in honor of Martha Frances “Francie” Jarman Tilghman, one of the founders of the Salisbury Maryland Kennel Club,
a past president of the Humane Society of Wicomico County and an advocate for Pets on Wheels.
Her husband, M.W. “Bill” Tilghman, and son, M.W. “Mat” Tilghman Jr., donated $25,000 for the dog park, city offiicials said.
Tilghman bred and showed poodles, dachshunds and Shelties, and also counseled hundreds of people through the Kennel Club’s breeding referral program, family members said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, city park, dog, dog park, dogs, frances j. tilghman, funds, humane society, kennel club, large dogs, maryland, memorial, new, news, ohmidog!, park, parks, pets, pets on wheels, recreation, salisbury, small dogs, wicomico county