a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: It's About Time! Saving Purebred Dogs

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's About Time! Saving Purebred Dogs

SUMMARY: British Kennel Club makes it unacceptable to breed dogs whose features make them unhealthy.

The RSPCA (British version of ASPCA) pulled out of Crufts (the major purebred dog show) last year over concerns about the bad effects that breeding for exaggerated appearances have done to dogs. The Kennel Club (British equivalent of AKC, but older, possibly first in the world) has since revised its standards somewhat, among other things now disallowing incestuous breedings to be registered. Mixed reviews, not surprisingly. Read the article.

North America (and AKC) is already far behind Europe, where most laws now prohibit docking of tails and cropping of ears. We'll undoubtedly be way behind in this, too.


  1. I sure hope it helps. A very long time coming, indeed. Now on to the US.

    Side note: Some of my truly dog loving friends who don't support taildocking, etc., still can't understand why I am soooo against declawing my cats. Which makes me believe that education is so key and important in all of this.

  2. Oh, this is good news. Glad to hear it.

  3. The *ONLY* compliant I have is that the KC didn't consult the breed clubs to ask their input, and about what's important to THEM. Many breeders would be GLAD to see important topics addressed, and do feel there are changes needed (But it's hard to get that ball rolling politically).

    There's even 'rebel' breeders who DO breed dogs with faults by the standards, which they feel improves the quality of the dogs health. Many of these specific issues, have NOT been addressed by the proposed revisions anyways! Had breed clubs, and breeders been able to assist in the standards revisions, I feel it would have been much more productive, as well as respectful.

    Technically it's breed clubs who write, and submit standards to the KC historically, so the KC is stepping on a lot of toes by blindly changing standards, on dogs they don't live with, or breed themselves.

    Also a complaint I have is that MANY of the topics in the changes have NOT been conformational health related, but rather cosmetic. IMO there was no place for the KC to step in and decide on cosmetics in this rash situation. That's the job for the breed club, and breeders to decide what's a fault in the breed.

    All-in-all, I think this could go either way. It'll either open up more doors for AR extremists to have their way and end dog breeding, and shows, or will help make breed clubs really look at what's written in standards, that breeders are breeding towards. Only the future will tell.

  4. This is not germane to your current post, but I had to comment to tell you that I was so sure I had a nice unique name for my younger agility dog--Tika--only to find your BEAUTIFUL girl has the same name! She's a little younger than Boost (born Sep 06, we think) and has a few CPE and USDAA titles, but is still very much a newbie. I read back a couple months in your blog and really enjoyed it! Nice pictures, and you have a great sense of humor. If you'd like to see my Tika, she's here:

    We're in Ohio, so mixups are unlikely--did you name Tika after the book character Tika Waylan, by any chance?

  5. Thanks for the comments.

    I'm definitely not a fan of PETA, whose stated goal is to eliminate pet animals. That's horrific to me. On the other hand, I also think that it's pretty terrible that some breeds have become so malformed that they can't be bred or give birth naturally, or that their backs or hips have serious problems, or that they can't breathe naturally and are at severe risk in hot weather, or who can't swim (!this seems so weird to me, a dog who can't swim), or who can be expected to die of cancer at 5 or 6. I also think that having it come from the breed clubs is like asking American automakers to come up with a plan for making extremely fuel efficient vehicles rather than forcing it on them from the outside. Ha!

    I believe that one of the reasons that we still have rampant docking and cropping here in the US is because the AKC won't take a stand ("it's up to the breed clubs"), and the breed clubs of course say that that's integral to the breed's identity. But I'm sure you're right and it could go the other way, too--breeders may keep on doing what they want to do anyway, whether it's good or bad for the breed from a humane perspective. And I'm also sure you're right that there would've been less push-back if the breed clubs had been consulted. But I also suspect that the changes would have been even weaker--if any--if they had.

    I haven't looked for or read a complete list of the mandated changes, so I can't speak as to what I think about whether things are cosmetic changes. I'd be interested to hear a couple of examples.

    At least this action gets the ball rolling politically; it will be interesting to see how things shape up over the next few years. If there's anything I learned from working on Wikipedia dog articles for over 2 years, it's that dog breeding is an extremely emotional subject!

  6. Quincy's Mom: Well, I thought that I had *made up* the name Tika! I originally came up with the name Pika (after the little ground hoggy things that stand up on their hind legs to look around, which she did), and pronounced it PEEK-ah. Then I went to class that day and found out that 2 other people with new dogs had named them Pic (PEEK) and Peak. Argh. So I changed the first letter to be different. Then the first USDAA trial I went to after that, someone had come in from out of town with her Masters dog named Tika! She hadn't named the dog; she thought she remembered that it was named after a fictional princess (which I've never been able to track down--is that Tika Waylan? Then a friend at work said that her cat is named Tika, which is (I think) puerto rican for "aunt"? (Usually spelled tica I think.) Then--even more interesting--when I was browsing around in some old USDAA history pages, I found that the first Aussie to earn an ADCH was named Tika! (Hmmm--I think I did a post about this once upon a time; will have to see whether I can find it.)

  7. Hi Ellen
    Love the Portland Pix !!

    As a UK native I know how much more open the UK Kennel Club is to mixbreeds and the love of the dog than the AKC (One trip to Crufts will convince you of that - it is all things dog and quite an experience to attend !!)

    I actually think this BBC / Crufts issue that made big headlines in the UK should serve as a wake up call for the AKC.

    My take -- It makes me unhappy to see breeds in the AKC conformation ring that have lost their function and are not maintained in working condition. It makes me unhappy when fashion takes priority over good temperament and structure. I don't understand why anyone would want to cosmetically dock a tail, remove a dew claw or crop an ear. Dew claws in particular are used for balance and for holding things.

    I am so happy that we have agility as an activity that promotes the need for health, temperament and structure - the very things that are so important to the well-being of our dogs!!!

  8. I agree about agility providing great benefit to dogs (and owners!).