Removing All Doubt

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise; and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed as a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:28

Instead of taking the 2012 Crufts Vet Checks as a wake-up call that the KC was no longer going to pay mere lip-service to their pledge to reform dog breeding, remaining silent and waiting to assess the true fallout from the event before deciding on the way forward, and purposefully getting to work improving their breeds in the right way, many in the fancy have come out in hysterical levels of protest. In doing so, they have removed all doubt regarding their foolishness.

I think dog shows are a farce, but if I’m wrong and there is actually some value to shows in forwarding the goal of improving breeds, then it must be concluded that all of that value lies in the breed competition and that group and best in show are rather irrelevant.

After your dog is found to be the best in breed, how can winning a group or best in show ribbon provide any more information about that dog as a member of its breed?  It can’t and frankly the entire concept of a group and best in show round lacks any scientific integrity: this beagle is a better beagle than that retriever is a retriever? Nonsense.

Group and Best in Show are clearly platforms for fame seeking. The dogs are not being judged against their standards, they are being judged against each other just like politicians, athletes, and pop stars compete for the attention of the public. Some might excel in their fields before competing for fame, but others lack talent and merit but are amazing self promoters.

Let’s realize one thing: the Crufts checks were a minor little hurdle and the consequences of failure were also pathetically minor. The vets could only look for that small set of conditions that are apparent from a cursory exam and the result of failing was only that the dogs could not advance to the group competition at that one show.

How pathetic is that?

The only requirement is that your dog isn’t suffering from some blatantly obvious disease and the only consequence is being denied a chance at another ribbon at one show. But this pathetically low bar is too high to hurdle for some decrepit breeds like the Pug.

Here is the histrionic statement made by one of the UK Pug breeders who chickened out of the vet checks at the first show following Crufts:

Dog showing is my hobby and now my hobby is turning into a nightmare. I prefer it if we all stand united; we want something done for every breed, not just toys. We say enough is enough.

– Aileen Welham, exhibitor of Barryann Trick or Treat

A nightmare? Enough is enough? Remember that Pugs are a genetic mess of three different types of dwarfism and they are one of the most expensive dogs to insure due to their high risk profile for numerous expensive diseases. Yet someone who is supposed to be the pinnacle of Pug breeders, deeply concerned with the health and welfare of the breed, thinks that it’s an atrocity that she be asked to show her dog to a vet before she gets to compete for more ribbons.

Pug Health Concerns:

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Portosystemic Shunts High $2,000-$6,000
Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease High $1,000-$3,000
Entropion High $300-$1,500
Arachnoid Cysts High $4,500-$10,000
Fold Dermatitis High $300-$2,500
Necrotizing Meningo-Encephalitis High $1,500-$4,000
Estimates based on claims paid by Embrace Pet Insurance

Apparently this breeder is just fine with the pathetic state of this breed and the decades of complacency and dysfunction which has been intentionally bred into these wheezing toadstools, but one denied chance at a group placement at one dog show for the first time in history is a nightmare and worthy of “enough is enough.”

Here are highlights from a statement by the owner of Palacegarden Bianca, the Pekingese that was failed at Crufts:

I feel a combination of emotions including anger, sadness, disappointment, sympathy and frustration, I feel that the 15 breeds that the Kennel Club consider to be at risk, have been dreadfully let down by the Kennel Club in the way in which they have implemented the health checks on these breeds.

it is time that the Kennel Club stopped pandering to animal extremists, whose sole intention is to discredit and destroy the sport of exhibiting pedigree dogs

This procedure must have been very uncomfortable for the dog. It was uncomfortable just to watch.

He started writing on the form and he said ‘I’m failing her’. Words can’t describe the full horror of those words. I was in a living nightmare. I said something like ‘do you realise what you are doing? Reporters are waiting outside that door’ Very coldly and sternly he said ‘I am doing my DUTY. The Kennel Club have asked me to do this’

‘I knew that this was not just my own complete public humiliation but the worst possible outcome for the breed. I was in shock. The KC representative asked me if I would like him to take me back to my bench. This was kind because I was in a daze and would never have been able to find my way. I was whimpering like an idiot, saying ‘what will I say – what will I say‘.

This is the language of ego.  It’s clear that to these people it’s about self-promotion, judge-shopping, and performance art.  The dogs are incidental and anything that stands in the way of the social payoff of group and BIS wins is unpalatable and must be vehemently opposed.

If it wasn’t obvious before, the response to 2012 Crufts has removed all doubt: these people are fools.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.