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Copyright (c) 2004-2008 Gilberts' K-9 Seminars
READER'S QUESTIONS ON CHANGING BREED STANDARDS

A reader wrote: <<Yes, standards have to eventually be updated. Again, in my opinion, this is so because breeds structures are changing. Why? Could it be that dogs are awarded points (dogs of less quality), judges are more forgiving, and as a result breeders continue to care. >>

Response: There are three people responsible for the well being of a breed. They are the breeder, the exhibitor and the judge.

Fact - What is currently being shown and winning defines the direction of a breed.

That does not necessarily mean that what is being shown and is winning is correct. What saves most breeds is the top dogs are usually very good specimens of their breed.

The absence of faults does not make a good specimen of its breed. It simply makes a dog without any glaring faults.

It is possible to excel in mediocrity. That still makes the specimen mediocre.

Negative judging does not serve a breed well. All dogs have their faults. The great ones wear them well.

Yes, lesser specimens do have the potential to win and be "forgiven" by judges. A Judge can only judge what is presented. Rarely do you see a judge exercise the duty of withholding.

What if a judge has been trained to view a breed and has only seen lesser specimens? They are trained to recognize mediocrity and think it is correct for a breed.

The judges awarding the lesser specimens are the final stamp of approval in the show world for breeders. Is that "forgiving" or simply unknowledgeable? The breeders then think what they have is fine and breed from that and so on. That lowers the bar and quality for the future.

Quality is essential. You must train your eye and mind to recognize quality, find it and award it and breed from it.

Breed Standards should NOT be changed or updated because specimens in a breed and their structures are changing. What if the structural changes are NOT CORRECT for a breed to the total detriment of a breed? The subtle changes in winning dogs of a breed over years are exactly why Breed Standards should not change.

A good example is the Afghan Hound Standard adopted in 1948 and remains unchanged to date. We see fads come and go. We see extremes that don't last. The pendulum swings in one direction and then goes back. The reason the breed stays on track is because the Breed Standard has NEVER been changed since 1948.

So, think very carefully about opening a Breed Standard for change. Everyone has an agenda and there is always compromise in a committee. Sometimes the committees are not knowledgeable or simply have incorrect animals that they want to "fit" the Standard.

There is the "be careful what you wish for" caveat that applies here.

What we need to do and by we I mean the breeders, the exhibitors and the judges, is study and understand. We all need to be knowledgeable. We need to be able to make informed decisions and selections.

We need to understand and instantly recognize quality.

All my best,

Pat Gilbert
tazi1970@sbcglobal.net
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