We began this site thinking of readers here in the US, but we have developed a faithful following from all over the world for which we are eternally grateful. The dog fancy is truly a universal interest. One of our regular readers, Sofie Wilbraaten from Norway, writes suggesting we begin a discussion on the differences between purebred breeds here in the US and in Europe and the UK. It’s a subject near and dear to my heart. It’s also a subject that never fails to stir up a lively debate. We have seen some excellent European dogs here as well as at least one Asian dog. So everybody join in, but keep it civil ;-)
Ok, I write this blog, so I will go first. When I got into this game some 40 years ago, we in the US looked to the UK for the best examples of many breeds, virtually all the terriers, and several other breeds as well. While the British terriers were imported to improve soundness and type, I remember British Pekingese were more extreme (larger heads, flatter faces) than American examples of the breed. Later in the 1970s and 1980s German Rottweilers and German Shepherd Dogs were imported to improve substance and soundness.
Just recently we have seen a couple of Swedish imports that I believe will be an important influence here, the beautiful Bedlington Terrier, CH Velvety Angel Eyes, and a fine example of my own breed, the Cairn Terrier, CH Hjohoo's Best Wishes To Hjo (Hjo is a town in Sweden and is pronounced “you”) bred by Swede Elisabeth Theodorsson, owned by Brazilians Mario Duarte & Victor Malzoni and shown here in America by Armando Morales.
As far as consistent differences between American dogs and British and European dogs. Here’s my own, very personal opinion. We have here in the US many talented professional handlers and many breed enthusiasts who are master groomers. As a group Americans like their dogs like their movie stars, not a hair out of place. This leads to extremes in grooming like the sun flower faced West Highland White Terriers or the walking dust mops that are American Cocker Spaniels. In many breeds, the standard set by Americans is what the rest of the world aspires to. You simply do not see poor examples of grooming in our Poodle, Maltese, or Pekingese rings. I do not mean to imply that dog fanciers outside the US are poor groomers, but that outside the US, a more natural look is generally preferred.
Another characteristic, this one lamentable, is the tendency of American breeders to refine breeds to the point of losing sight of the breeds original purpose. Four examples, happily now in the past, were Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Vizla, and Irish Setters of the 1980s. In an attempt to achieve a racy, elegant silhouette, some of the highly regarded dogs of the era were overly refined and lacked the substance to do the job for which they were bred. I could cite specific examples, but on the advice of my attorneys, I won’t.