Tuesday, September 16, 2008


When I started this blog, there was a worry that there would be problems finding enough material to fill this space between weekend show results. However, it seems that dog show related materials fall from the sky. One such report is the announcement Sunday that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) was severing their relationship with Crufts in protest of the United Kingdom’s Kennel Club (the equivalent of our AKC) promotion of the breeding of “deformed and disabled” purebred dogs. As much of an Anglophile as I am (I drive a Jaguar and own both a Scottish and Cairn Terrier), every now and then I am reminded why my ancestors were among the first British immigrants to this continent.

American Doberman Pinscher

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) recently aired a documentary fomenting public animosity toward breeders focusing on health issues purportedly caused by breeding to standard. The Kennel Club, in typically British masochistic fashion, has donated 48,000 pounds (about 86,000 US) to the RSPCA. At my age, I have learned to listen to my critics, but I always have relied on my mother’s advice, “Keep an open mind, but don’t let your brains fall out.“ There are lot of health problems in purebred dogs, but I’m not convinced that selective breeding is the major culprit. More likely it is the fault of haphazard and uninformed breeding. In any event the UK’s Kennel Club and our own AKC are major supporters of canine health research and do more to educate the public about responsible breeding practices that the RSPCA or its American counterpart.

British Doberman Pinscher

I reject out of hand that the KC or the AKC are responsible for the health problems in our pets. If there are genetic health issues in our breeds, it is the responsibility of breeders, without government interference, to resolve. And it is here that I part company with many on the other side of the Atlantic and even a few here. First, where we agree, no one should purposely breed an animal which must live its life in pain or discomfort. Nor is it permissible to abuse or injure any animal. (I do eat meat and wear leather shoes) Here is my basic premise…All domestic dogs were bred to be companions to mankind. Now, if you are one of those nutcases that believes man has no right to use animals for his own selfish purposes, you probably got to this blog by mistake.

American Great Dane

In Great Britain it is already illegal to crop a dog’s ears. Yet it is legal for children there to mutilate their bodies. (More than ten percent of the British population has one or more body piercings apart from ear piercing.) Just compare a Doberman Pinscher with cropped ears and one au natural. The former is the very epitome of a fierce guard dog, the latter could be mistaken for a poor example of a Black and Tan Coonhound. An American Great Dane has the regal bearing of the dog bred to protect kings. A British Great Dane looks like a big goofy hound. I choose to work with breeds that require no alteration and have no particular extreme physical characteristics. However, I do not agree that we should stop breeding Pekingese, Bulldogs, Dachshunds, or other breeds because they can’t out run a Greyhound. I would feel very deprived if I lived in a world without some of our more unique breeds.

British Great Dane

Please do not think that I abhor all things European. I subscribe to a concept, the Social Contract, from the French philospher Jean Jacques Rousseau. Legitimate state authority must be derived from the consent of the governed. The social contract allows the individual all rights allowed by his conscience as so long as his actions do interfere with the society at large. I do have a rather quintessentially American interpretation of this idea. Leave me and my dogs alone!

British Teenager


  1. You said it.
    Also, you should have a post about taildocking, some say it's cruel others say that not docking is cruel. Although in the states you crop and dock, but here neither is, or has been allowed for many years. A pity I think, 'great' some breeders think.
    (I love dobermans, but I will never have one because I think they look dead ugly with their ears down)

  2. Sofie, there are lots of breeds whose ears stand up naturally why not choose one of those?