SUMMARY: A new (?) ruling that I know next to nothing about.
The docking and cropping of dogs' ears and tails has been controversial for many years. Many people feel that it is cruel--no matter how or when it is done, it must cause pain and is unnecessary for today's dogs who don't work in the environments for which the hacking was originally done. Others say that it's painless if performed on very young puppies; that it prevents a variety of injuries, infections, or illnesses in dogs even today; or that some breeds have been bred with the assumption of cropping so that the uncropped tails or ears are ugly (e.g., half size) or unwieldy or whatever.
None-the-less, the practice has been more and more outlawed around the world. The U.S. has so far not dared to step into the fray legally; the AKC leaves it up to the individual breed clubs; and the breed clubs all have their reasons why cropping and docking makes sense for their breeds.
You can read more about the history of, arguments for and against, and where it is outlawed, on Wikipedia.
Luka, who won the 16" AKC National Champion, like most Pyrenean Shepherds (at least here in the states) has a docked tail. The AKC chooses who represents the U.S. at the FCI's World Cup competition, currently the largest and most prestigious of international agility championships. (This is why (AKC) you'll never see mixed breeds at the world cup. Unless AKC starts allowing mixed breeds to compete.) This year the World Cup will be in Norway in September. Normally a dog who wins as consistently as Luka would be a shoo-in for the AKC's world cup team. But apparently effective this year, the FCI has banned all dogs with docking or cropping.
Ashley, like most dog owners, didn't have a choice in the docking or cropping. More experienced dog people who have paid attention to the issue over the years know that they can opt for a dog or breeder who doesn't crop--but in the states, this tremendously limits your choices of breeders. Since most chopping is done shortly after birth, by the time a buyer chooses a member of the litter, the work has already been done. And since AKC breed clubs still require docking and cropping of many breeds for the show ring, there is tremendous motivation for breeders with show-quality dogs to perform the operation.
Part of the controversy with the FCI appears to be that they didn't provide, say, a cutoff birth date for dogs who are ineligible to compete, which would seem to make more sense. And apparently they didn't announce a phase-in period or multiple years notice or whatever.
Mind you--I'm not in favor of docking or cropping. But I'm also not in favor of abrupt or arbitrary rule changes, which this seems to be. I don't know the details; this is hearsay. And I'm not finding the info on the web with searching. If anyone can provide me with links to more info on this subject, I'd be glad to post them.