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Was going through my documents of info I saved... I found this article about a year and a half ago.....before I found this forum. I saved this article as I agreed with so much of it, & had no one to vent my frustrations with about those who looked down on me for wanting to breed is a little long & I would have just added a link, but no longer remember where I got it. Worth the read....

By Carol Hawke
As many of you are well aware, I recently enjoyed a year's sabbatical from writing for the dog world. I truly did not intend to return. I was done with all of this. But something stirred in my soul in that year and I found sufficient courage to step back up to the plate for a season. They say it's not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog. I'm a little dog with a big fight inside, as any of you know who have ever put me to the test. But I must admit, the fight I have for Sport is fading fast and I know one day it is liable to disappear altogether. This may be the last article I write for you for some time. After you read it, some of you may be grateful for small favors concluding that I have gone off the deep end. Certainly, it's safer on the shallow end of life but nothing much ever transpires there. Because I've long been afraid of deep water, I had to take a floating device and force myself to paddle to the deep end of the pool. Every time I swam over it, I felt that gripping terror but I kept doing it until I was no longer afraid. I've taken big chances and perhaps overstepped my boundaries at times but I've nothing left to lose where the dog world is concerned. So, please do pay very careful attention to what I have to say. You may be judged a decade hence upon your responses.

Let us begin with the basics. The Sport of Purebred Dogs in this country consists of three essential sectors:
1) the breeding/exhibiting sector of purebred dogs
2) the handling sector of purebred dogs (slips tidily into sector 3 as well)
3) the business sector of purebred dogs (including AKC, vendors, dog publications)

All of these sectors use differing means to achieve the same goal; that is to promote and maintain the purebred dog. In accomplishing this worthy goal, we must first understand what a purebred dog is in the very plainest sense. Purebred dogs are linebred, domesticated mutts. Or, if you prefer politically correct; purebred dogs are linebred, domesticated canines. We begin by inbreeding dogs with similar characteristics to cause those characteristics to surface. We then linebreed the offspring of those dogs to cause the characteristics we inbred for to be maintained on the surface or in the phenotype of the dog. We then write descriptions or breed standards noting and idealizing those phenotypic changes. Beneath each stylized phenotype (breed) is a genotype. That is, a distinct genetic package. The longer we linebreed domestic dogs, the more stylized the phenotype or look of that "breed" becomes. Accordingly, the longer we line and inbreed that stylized look, the more we reduce the potential contributors to its gene pool. The more we reduce the gene pool, the more each breed of dog grows susceptible to frequently recurring and more severely manifested genetic defects. These defects appear to be genotype (genetic equivalent) manifestations of the phenotype we have stylized in every single breed of purebred dog that exists today. Only by opening the gene pool to other non-conforming or dissimilar type domestic canines and/or altering breed standard descriptions, can we reduce the frequency and severity of those genetic defects that surface. The noted frequency and severity of these manifested defects appears to be determined by how far the phenotype of that breed differs from the wild type dog. For example, the Bulldog and Pekingese carry more severe genetic defects, on a dog-to-dog basis, than say the Finnish Spitz.

The German Shepherd, because of its highly-stylized look with overly long stifles and typically short, sickle hocks has to bear the burden of those characteristics linebred into its desired phenotype. The Labrador Retriever, now bred to be very heavy boned, has orthopedic issues to contend with. The French Bulldog, with its massive, short body and (brachycephalic) pushed-in face has spinal and breathing difficulties and can only rarely whelp its own puppies. Whichever eccentric deviations we render in the phenotype of the domestic canine, the dog seems to bear the burden through genetically manifested physical restrictions or defects. All dogs, like all human beings, must contend with some genetic and therefore, physical flaws or departures from what might be considered ideal for each species. Our purebred dogs, however, will continue to be regularly affected by the rigorous demands rendered through breed standard ideals and the resultant, narrowing gene pools. Thus, we must carefully weigh the most extreme variations in phenotype against their accompanying, genetic restrictions. As dog breeders, we strive for that stylized type owing to the consistent characteristics it provides. The truth is that we must contend with an excruciating downside. Like highly-skilled surgeons, we work as delicately as we can within the stylized concepts or breed standards we've designed. We want to provide our dog breeds with the greatest potential for health, freedom from defects and most suitable domestic temperaments while increasing longevity within the confines of the standard descriptions we've devised. Every dog breeder seeks to stretch the limiting factors of their breed's phenotypic package as far as the genotype will allow.

Purebred dog breeders are known to rise up in arms when new breeds are introduced or the population espouses crossbreds as the latest society darlings. Admittedly, this is rather silly behavior. I own up to my own share caused by a thorough lack of understanding of basic facts. AKC began to look into a program some time ago allowing breeders to widen (and thus adulterate according to purist breeders) the gene pool in various breeds under strict monitoring. I've not heard what became of it. Did you? Perhaps it was an idea with deeply misapplied merit. The difficulties encountered were, no doubt, the direct result of attempting to introduce similarly stylized purebreds into the suffocated gene pools of other stylized purebreds. As stated, the demand for consistent, highly-stylized phenotype (and its accompanying narrow gene pool) seems to parallel the frequency and severity of certain genetic defects in purebred dogs. Using similar breeds to increase the gene pool of others was destined to be a failure and the entire experiment was likely swept under the mat. What might actually work in a scenario where stylized breeds require a larger, thus healthier gene pool? The answer grows painfully obvious. Alter the breed standards and/or allow the introduction of healthy, dissimilar type domestic canines to be added to the gene pools in question. However, as soon as the offspring are line and inbred into the same stylized type and the gene pool narrows once again, these defects will resurface. You will only buy a little time at best. We await absolute confirmation from DNA experts that purebred dogs are linebred domestic canines with stylized phenotype that departs so keenly in many cases from the wild canine, genetic defects become inherent. If the clever money prevails, you will not read or hear too much regarding said results in the purebred dog world.

Is there any hope for the genotype woes of purebred dogs? I suppose in the sense that importation continues between countries allowing some minor degree of hybrid vigor. Other than that, how could this dire situation be resolved amicably for purist dog breeders? Impossible, unless gene splicing achieves such a degree of sophistication that the stylized phenotypes we adore can be separated from their defective genotypes. The thing is, we canine connoisseurs adore the stylized appearance of purebred dogs! It is, technically, what sets them apart from all other canines. We boast over the consistency of physical characteristics and reliable temperament. Yes, all gloriously true and purebred dogs are nowhere more embraced, applauded and idolized than in America. So what can be done? Keep doing the best we can do for now, I suppose. But as time passes, accept the fact that the gene pool of every stylized dog breed will eventually have to be widened and/or breed standards altered. That may, of necessity, include bringing in dissimilar type, domestic dogs with more variants. Therefore it is wise, not ridiculous, for the purebred dog community and the AKC to begin vigorously establishing itself in the world of companion dogs in an entirely new fashion. It may be high time AKC pioneer this crossbred dog fancy to legitimize trendy mutts such as Labradoodles, Cockapoos and others we have long abhorred by allowing our own skilled dog breeders to market crossbred offspring such as these to the public with non-breeding registrations. Why not?

In a strictly business sense, why give license to makeshift registries and puppy millers to exploit a dedicated and growing community of domestic dog lovers? Dog lovers are dog lovers. It is your job, fellow breeders, to make phenotype connoisseurs of them. That is, if you think it would be an improvement. Dog lovers know a good thing when they see it and hybrid vigor is a mighty good thing. Vet bills are dreadfully high these days. Everyone feels the financial crunch. Moreover, people who love dogs hate to see them suffer. Embrace the domestic dog loving public instead of shunning them for their good sense or working to set them straight. Set up a new wing at the AKC registration factory that allows its breeders to cross purebred AKC dogs and sell the pups as hybrids, crossbreds or what have you. Let the breeders provide the proof of parentage of these crossbreds but grant the results official looking, non-breeding registrations. Sell pedigrees for these crossbreds to interested buyers. Welcome them into all appropriate AKC events.

Perhaps even more crucially, allow AKC dog judges to adjudicate for any canine organization they so desire at their own discretion. At the very least, our experienced and astute dog judges can get in on the ground floor of new fanciers breeding efforts and help them pinpoint common flaws and defects before they become firmly entrenched. We must embrace and work with America's dog lovers at the very place their wannabe purebreds and crossbreds can still be fashioned into relatively healthy and sound domestic canine types. This is the precise moment to discover and weed out dangerous temperament inclinations. We can thereby reduce the potential certain future breeds and crossbreds may possess to become weapons in the wrong hands, endangering society and leading to even stricter anti-dog legislation. It is far too late once those types (eg. Old English Bulldogges) are established and being sold like chic new sets of dinnerware to the public. Work with interested dog fanciers as they create new phenotypes and guide them. Don't shun them by flushing their good favor and useful canine affection down the toilet of your trained disregard. Moreover, I believe we should encourage our own highly experienced and technically trained dog breeders to create further breed types with larger gene pools. Assist as they develop new standards for those types as part of this expansion process. It is entirely possible and even essential to step out of the mold of what was into what can and will be. Since there are and will continue to be 'designer dogs,' shouldn't the master designers take the lead?

Furthermore, I propose that AKC embrace ALL legitimately motivated, purebred dog organizations including those who wish to retain separate registration sources from AKC. Rather than pushing potentially useful dog fanciers to arms length, turn this situation to our advantage to reduce dependency upon merchandising programs or ill-conceived ideas that may actually promote certain lines of pet stores! By such actions, one merely engenders the wrath of one's own dog breeding community. Think further than the ends of your noses and consider an effort to embrace the wider, legitimate companion dog community in America. I do not suggest we incorporate puppy millers, pet stores and dog auctioneers into this picture whatsoever. Nor should we embrace those in the wild dog community who are producing dangerous crosses with domestic canines. On the other hand, we ought to welcome upstart dog clubs and their fanciers, both purebred and crossbred in the aspect that we can advise them and allow our breeders and dog judges to assist them at their individual discretion, without fear of reprisal.

It is my firm opinion that the Judges Department should charge a fee for every AKC dog judge exported for use at any publicly held dog show. In fact, charge a fee to member clubs for the use of this pool of super-proficient, expensively trained and highly skilled body of judges. It would make good sense all around to charge a nominal fee to member clubs and a regular fee to non-member clubs. Such a practice would help offset burgeoning costs to process and maintain dog judges. In this fashion, our dog judges will gain invaluable experience by studying and evaluating new or previously unrecognized breeds as well as crossbred type dogs. There is something to learn in the evaluation of every domestic canine. It seems probable that such dog clubs and their fanciers would gratefully receive the attention of AKC and its experienced crew of dog judges. We ought to grasp with both hands an increasingly dismal situation we find ourselves trapped within and use it to our greatest advantage instead of contriving merchandising schemes and throwing infant canine organizations and their avid followers out with their bathwaters. Why intentionally create animosity? Dog lovers are dog lovers. Let's work from that principle.

So, let us now review the facts as we recognize them. Purebred dogs are linebred, domesticated mutts. New breeds are domesticated mutts being stylized into purebreds, as it were. The present gene pools grow ever more limited for purebred dogs resulting in greater manifestation of recurring genetic flaws. The educated public knows this and is turning cartwheels to buy 'designer dogs', which to the purist breeder are simply crossbred mutts. Think about these facts. Contemplate them at length. The future of domestic dogs is upon us and we cannot and, therefore, must not try to escape it. The computer age has rendered our world but one giant community…for good or evil. Where AKC dog breeders and judges have always been concerned, when in Rome, do as the Romans do but who says you have to stay in Rome? There is no more room for good old boys clubs in this modern dog world. It is extremely likely that the crossbred domestic dog loving community and parallel purebred dog organizations will begin to hold their own canine showcases and these will become televised. Whatever the ticket; our growing community of dog lovers will surely find the spotlight. The modern world will embrace them because everybody loves dogs and mutts remain America's favorite dogs. The pet food industry will embrace them because their goal is to increase sales. What will AKC and its clan of elitist followers do then?

Prestige and glamour are rapidly becoming redefined - just take a peek at the attire of modern models. Togs. Togs for people and their dogs! You can only sell so many credit cards, so much canine insurance, and so many doggy toys with your logo and then you run smack into competitors with better offers. Out the window with all that nonsense I say, and stick to dogs, since, technically, that is what we do best. Right? Time to put on a new hat…one that embraces modern facts and redefines the image of AKC as an elitist dog registry for stuffy canines with even stuffier owners. Observe where this world is headed. Either you will go with it or become obsolete fighting the trends. AKC and what it represents is fast becoming obsolete. Purebred dogs no longer possess the glamour and appeal they once held, in no small part owing to the simple fact their phenotype is now being scientifically revealed in very troubling computerized genotype. Scientific revelation has, to some extent, inadvertently damaged America's love affair with purebred dogs. It's time to expand these staid boundaries and remove the constraining, antiquated prejudices. We oldies but goodies can fight a losing battle or find some way to dig our toes in and make good use of our knowledge and experience. We're the cream of the dog world; so let's rise to the top! If we are to bring dog lovers back into this sadly corrupted game and make it a family sport once again, we must embrace what families are embracing; a very simple love of dogs. Whether purebred, crossbreds or indefinable mutts, they all deserve the same love and affection. The American public knows this and demands it.

AKC's sole purpose is embodied in its purebred dog registration services and maintenance of the purity of the gene pool of each stylized breed it approves. So keep it that way. It's the company trademark. We can hardly do without it. Stand by it but add an entirely new wing to the building. Welcome the crossbreds and the purebreds with parallel registries by respectfully inviting them into AKC events. Allow AKC judges to judge their events, for a fee. There's a good chance that if you treat these fanciers with dignity, they may eventually choose AKC registration resources and event participation. Ponder that awhile. We have the capacity to share our accumulated knowledge of domestic dogs with those who may require it most. Give them a fair share of the spotlight and watch America's dog lovers come round to your door knocking again. It is surely not AKC purebred dogs alone that keep the pet industry in business. As for our purebred dog periodicals, have you noticed the attention given to societal icons and their mutts? More of their chosen pets are mutts than purebreds. What harm would it do to encourage people to proudly promote their favorite domestic canines in dedicated showcases within these publications if AKC grants them a form of recognition?

Last but not least, I offer my final and most profound piece of advice. This single proposition could potentially save AKC millions and the Judge's Department innumerable migraines. Some of you will certainly choke on this concept but please read me well here. Give any person in good standing with AKC in America, who can legitimately substantiate twenty active years in this AKC Sport and who applies as a conformation judge, a license for two breeds. Whatever two breeds they have the most documentation in and desire to judge. Let them apprentice as dog judges for two years. Insist they complete a certain number of supervised provisional assignments at AKC dog shows in that timeframe just as they do now. If they still long to adjudicate after that two-year apprenticeship is up, approve them and give them the entire group they seek. Let them judge under apprenticeship in that group for five years. Assign local judging mentors to work them from day one. It's high time AKC provides a viable mentorship program for their dog judges. If these judging candidates under group apprenticeship succeed and are naïve enough to still want to be career dog judges, approve them for that initial group plus BIS and give them another group on apprenticeship. Let them progress in this same fashion until the determined and successful candidates have become approved, all breed dog judges. This process shouldn't take decades. The skills and acuity of judging are developed in the process of judging. Candidates had decades to study purebred dogs before they arrived at the decision to pursue judging dogs.They already know what they need to know to judge conformation and temperament in dogs or they wouldn't bother to apply. Don't put these wannabe arbiters through a grueling approval process that will eventually grant them the 'privilege' to judge when they really ought to retire! Very few people are functioning at full mental and physical capacity at that age. Reflexes are slower and injuries are much more likely to occur as we advance in age. The present judges approval process has been oft-described as a pay as you go and progress by who you know, politically motivated system. These leftover, good old boy stigmas have tragically handicapped into oblivion some of the finest potential arbiters the dog world could have known.

Am I nuts? Dog editors, photographers, dog food and supply vendors and pro handlers applying to judge while still involved in their present occupations? Outrageous! Ludicrous! Insane! Really? What difference is there between those people judging in their present occupations and the Board of Directors of the American Kennel Club granting themselves an exception to the conflict of interest policy in order to judge dogs? Casting aside the legitimate task of reviewing judging applications does not remove the stinging bias of that conflict of interest implication. They are at the helm of all that occurs in this Sport. What's good for the old goose may prove even better for the gander!

It is absolutely essential that our namesake utterly cease from an effort to 'handpick' dog judges. It is a thoroughly repulsive and potentially illegal practice. Those in charge must desist from blackening the Sports' reputation further with such elitist nonsense! Abandon differentiating between handlers and breeders in the application process. Everyone can now clearly see that for what it really is. It's time to incorporate integrity and trust into this system by placing wannabe qualified applicants into the judging world where they belong and allowing the Sport to decide if they are talented and honest enough to remain. If only those with strong political connections succeed, nothing much will have changed but at least the application and approval process will have been rendered potentially fair. Perhaps a few who are equally deserving and talented will somehow manage to flourish alongside the well-connected. AKC has a legitimate breed removal policy in place now. What is there to lose? For two decades, top AKC judges have insisted that dog judging is not akin to brain surgery. We really ought to believe them. Before us looms an opportunity to redesign the image of the American Kennel Club from a once elitist country club into a thriving business both legitimate and honorable. That is, if those in charge can recognize the fact that the domestic dog world is simultaneously growing wider and wiser!

Responses are welcomed at:
[email protected].

15,203 Posts long article but worth reading!!!

HYBRID VIGOR...breeding to eliminate structural/skeletal problems...and redesign the Purebred ideal.
Is this possible? perhaps down the line?

geneticists have finally discovered in dogs a diversity of genes and which is responsible for size, head structure, and much more. And dogs are one of the only breeds of animals that can be genetically altered with so much variance but ALSO FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH.

so while geneticists/research scientists are finding way to cure blindness now in dogs (some have been successful to-date)
MAYBE JUST MAYBE they can somehow get the AKC to take notice that the regulations of the 'standard pedigree"
needs to be revised and be less of show and more of health priority which would be the best in show.

9,243 Posts
Thanks for posting this! I have not had time to read it as carefully as I want to, so I'll be back...but I am very impressed with what I have read so far.
This would be a great article to have on hand and pass out to people who are snooty regarding our dogs. Not that they will read past the part that Pure Breed dogs are inbred mutts...hahahaha!
Love it!! Thanks!
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