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A Champion, but by whose standards

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  • A Champion, but by whose standards

    I of course agree that health testing even with it's limitations, is one of those "basics" that all breeders should consider necessary. And maybe some more than others.
    However your thoughts on pedigrees and the quality of titled dogs vs untitled ones I find a somewhat "unhealthy" view when trying to educate those new to any breed. Such thoughts often backup what many irresponsible breeders tell customers about why they don't show.
    Typically they say things like..
    "It's all policital."
    "You have to know someone."
    "My dogs are better than most champions."
    "Lots of champions produce puppies with problems too."
    While the actual judge on any given day, and at any show, will obviously view the dogs in relationship to the Standard, "and" as he sees it, there can be no doubt that dogs so titled have also been also been found excellent by many more than one judge and in several shows and at different times. The Standard "is" after all what we strive for and however much irresponsible breeders try to change things, that is what has been set down by the breed Club. Even flawed as it is, this is what we have, and was certainly not arrived at by those who had no background in the breed. There "are" things about the Standard with which I don't agree, and as we have all seen lately, sometimes standards are indeed changed. The addition of the Mantle is a recent example.
    Regarding pedigrees. I would certainly plonk down my money far more easily on a pup whose pedigree shows many known dogs, than on one full of names like "Queenie" and "Killer" etc. whom nobody had ever heard of. It goes without saying that when those who care decide to breed their bitch, pedigree plays an important role in how they make their decision. They will know what "known" dogs produced in the past, they will probably have seen many in the ring, will know how they moved, their temperament, their colouring, their genetic testing and the results. There is absolutely no way to tell what quality you might expect without a pedigree of known dogs. Granted there are often pet quality puppies in litters of titled parents, but I will guarantee that in litters of such pedigrees one will find a much larger percentage of quality puppies than in any litter with 5 generations of unknown quantitites. And it goes without saying that those pedigrees should contain colours and all genetic testing applicable. If one looks at dogs who have made their mark in the breed, you will almost without exception find a pedigree of known dogs. Right now I can think of only one dog who finished who had a pretty poor pedigree and she finished in the early 60's if I remember correctly.
    I cannot agree at all that almost any dog can finish it's championship. That is just not true. I have handled probably close to 40 dogs of mine and others, and in several breeds, to their championship, and while it's darned hard work, there would have been no way I would even bother to show a less and ideal specimen. It would have been a useless pursuit. Difficult enough to finish a good one if there is excellent competition.
    However I will say that years ago when Danes were in their heyday, early 60's to late 70's, I saw enormous classes of Danes at some shows. So huge that they used to have to be split into two many times, and where I felt there were many dogs there that day who really did deserve the points. So sometimes it doesn't seem quite fair, and the judge naturally, will give the points to the dog who comes the closest to the Standard as "he sees it" and on that day. Many times the next day at a weekend show, another dog will win under a different judge. But like it or not, we have nothing else to judge our stock by, and it would never in the interest of furthering the breed, to think that titles don't particularly mean a great deal. Take a ramdom sampling of litters of any 10 breeders who show and have known dogs with pedigrees of heavily titled dogs and 10 who don't bother, and I think the difference in quality would be all too apparent.
    I'll grant that there are a few finished dogs whom I, if a judge, would not have even placed, but considering the enormous numbers overall they have been few.
    There "are" problems today in the finishing of Harlequins who are not correctly marked which I have spoken of several times and which I think should be addressed by the Breed Club. This is a big personal peeve of mine.
    I would like to say something quickly about Politics and handlers always winning - a thought often perpetuated by those who have shown and lost, or that one has to be known to win. I finished quite a lot of dogs of my own and others in several breeds from 1952 to 1995 in Europe and in the US. All owner handled - or rather "novice" handled, and I had never heard of "politics" or professional handers, so had no preconceived ideas about winning or losing. I just tried to go into the ring with a good dog, a well trained dog and hoped for the best. I think it shows the judge no respect to take in a dog who is of poor quality or one ungroomed or who is not well trained. Puppies excluded. I will admit that I won sometimes over a better dog, only because the owner had not trained them well and while mine were stacked quietly, they were still wrestling around on the ground trying to control their dog. Judges have no time to wait for someone to gain control. They must give the win to a dog they can at least "see" compared to one they cannot.
    People who grumble about politics in showing are almost always those who have shown a dog who was either 1. Of poor quality. Or 2. An untrained dog whom the judge couldn't view properly. Or 3. Had only shown once or twice and because they didn't win, went off deciding it was all "polititcal". Very few dogs - even the best ones of any breed, finish their championships in three shows. Many are shown for a year or more before gaining the necessary points. And that's being shown every weekend. Novices cannot expect to go to their first show, and show against seasoned handlers, owners and dogs, and immediately win the points. It "does" happen, but very seldom. I know a new Mastiff owner, not just with his first Mastiff, but his first dog!!!, who went into the ring and finished his dog in three shows. So it "can" happen. I have many friends who started out alone, never hired a handler, knew few in the breed, yet were able to finish dogs. Absolute commitment helps and a willingness to keep learning and keep showing. And one "must" be willing to carefully evaluate whether one's dog really is show quality, and if not, spay or neuter, and start again.In an age of instant everything, this isn't often practiced unfortunately. But those new to showing can and do, go into the ring and win. I have seen it done quite recently.
    Your addressing the recent public account that a very well known breeder had not been truthful in the actual sire of a litter and who she had actually written down in the pedigree, is shocking and extremely sad for the breed. It was a disgusting situation for those who had dogs from the kennel and for the breed as a whole. But you must realise that in puppy mills, and $$$ for Dogs kennels, of this breed and others, it probably exists in a huge percentage of the stock they sell, and in Pet Shops probably even more, but it just never comes to the attention of the public. DNA testing will now go a long to to prevent this. However that will only mean that those who don't care about what they produce, will drop the "AKC" and go over to the Continental Kennel Club who will register anything - even mixed breeds, and the buying public unfortunately in many cases won't even realise that this is not a legit registering body and presume they have what they probably don't. Don't confuse this CKC with the Canadian Kennel Club who is the legit registering body in Canada.
    Your thoughts on uncropped dogs not getting a look-in in final BOB's etc is not factual. There are several who have been doing some very nice winning in the past, over thousands of cropped competitors and considering the differences in numbers of cropped vs uncropped, I think the uncropped dogs are indeed making a very nice showing. Advocate, Weaver, Dillon, Davina and the beautiful Harle bitch Amstel, belonging to Siegreich Danes would come to mind. I'm sure there are some current ones whom I haven't seen as yet. More and more owners are indeed showing uncropped dogs these days and giving a good account of themselves. In time I think cropping will be probably illegal here as it is in much of the rest of the world and then everyone will again compete on even footings. True that some judges here are not used to seeing uncropped dogs, but I think that is changing fast. Those dogs coming from countries who have not cropped in a long time, have often had the benefit of being bred over many generations for a smaller, neater ear than we sometimes see in US bred dogs. US Danes often have large "houndy" ears so it is imperative that those who do wish to show natural eared dogs, realise that there is often some taping needed to make them hang properly and not stick out to the side as in "flyaways".
    While I personally like the "look of eagels" the cropped ear presents, I also like the look of the natural ear as of course all my first Danes had in England.
    I'm sorry to have dragged this on so long but I think we should be careful not to disagree with those standards, rules, ideas etc. which have up til now, made this breed Great. I don't think we should encourage any disregard for such things since God knows, there is enough of that going on already, and it is painfully obvious that those who have done so, have done the breed a great disservice.

  • #2
    RE: A Champion, but by whose standards


    Well, I find it particularly unhealthy and in all probability, detrimental to buyers, when both sides of the equation are not given. The crux of the post was to give buyers ALL of the information they need to make rational, informed decisions when purchasing a pup. To me, ALL of the information includes discussing pedigrees…their positives as well as their “negatives”…

    My post was clear, factual and in no way misleading. It stated, in point form:

    - the system of titling has flaws
    - can be political
    - some Champions are not good examples of the breed
    - some pedigrees may contain non-factual information.

    Finally, I said, “I will readily concede that a pedigree that is littered with Champions “may” be an indicator of the “expected” quality of an offspring, however, one must be careful not to put “excessive” weight on this one variable so as to impair one’s judgement when searching for a pup”.

    I said nothing more and nothing less and I stand behind it.



    • #3
      RE: A Champion, but by whose standards

      But you see Paul, the problem with your thinking is that your "equation" is most terribly "one-sided" with a definite leaning toward making the responsible breeder looking a little less than honest, and making the those tired old sayings that backyard breeders constantly spew forth, seem to have some credence.
      And I'm afraid were I new to the world of dogs it would have swayed me toward thinking that there might be some truth to what the guy from $$$ for Dogs told me.
      You know the kind of stuff...
      "Shows are all political"
      "My dogs are from champion "lines" " etc.etc.
      "My dogs are just the same as those from show lines.I just don't charge as much."

      I think you "should" have posted something like....
      "Remember the majority of irresponsible breeders will have few or no champions close up in the pedigree."

      "Also buying a dog with such a background give you little or no chance of having a dog who matures with conformation of quality."

      "Buying a dog with a good pedigree, with champion parents, genetically tested, will give you a greater chance of a healthy puppy, a conformationally better adult, than one from a pedigree of unknown dogs."

      "Buying from a byb or puppy mill, pet shop or $$$ for dogs breeder, you cannot be sure of anything being correct on the pedigree probably 80% of the time. While obviously not everyone in dogs is honest, at least from a reputable breeder your chance of getting exactly what the pedigree and registration says, is closer to 100%."

      "While it is true that every dog who finishes it's championship, especially those who might finish early, do not mature into top quality adults, the chance of getting a quality dog who could even compete in the ring, from unshown, backyard or puppy mill bred dogs is absolutely nil!"

      And as your your saying that a pedigree littered with champions "May" only be an indicator of the expected quality of the offspring. Well I would have to say your "may" should be changed to " a good" indicator of expected quality. And a pedigree with none - well we all know what one expects there and it ain't no silk purse!

      I am sure you understand what I am getting at. And your points are not lost on me. I'ts just that you did it "arse backwards" as they say in England.
      There's an old American song which which came to mind and suggests how you might have worded your post a little better. It went something like
      "You have to acc-ent-uate the positive....
      something something the negative"etc. Someone help me out here <G>


      • #4
        RE: A Champion, but by whose standards

        Not much to say about your post, except to fall back onto my original post. It may well be that I would not have to add the negatives if the WHOLE story was given up front to the readers. There is two sides and all of the old timers know it. My suggestion is that when one posts, post the whole truth at the onset and then it will never come back to haunt them