Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The End of an Era

I'd like to call it the end of the Dogs With Dewlaps era, because while that doesn't begin to cover the deformities of the pedigree dogs, the dewlaps really do embody all of that which appalls me.

I could give my own cheer about the [UK] Kennel Club revising breed standards and tossing out inbreeding (nothing about linebreeding though), but I'll just pimp out this post of Terrierman's. Because I'm lazy and T-man is very concise and cynical.

The revised standards are definitely worth a look - check out all the revisions under English bulldog. And here's what I like to see:

Shar Pei
Head & Skull: Moderate wrinkle on forehead and cheeks. [Delete ‘continuing to form dewlaps’].

Neapolitan Mastiff
Characteristics: Some loose fitting skin over body and head permitted, not to be excessive. [Delete ‘with a double dewlap’].
Neck: Fairly short, stocky, very muscular. [Delete ‘dewlap from lower jaw reaching mid-point of neck’]

Characteristics: Skin relatively loose. [delete ‘especially noticeable about head and neck and where it hangs in deep folds’].

(Seriously. Dewlaps = gross.)

They've also tossed out screw/twist tails, the removal of dewclaws, and such ridiculous statements as (under Chihuahua), "If two dogs are equally good in type, the more diminutive preferred".

So have a look through, pick out your favourite amendments, and cross your fingers for the AKC to get its act together. Knowing Canada, we will probably wait a week to assert our independence, and then do whatever Britain's doing.


GoLightly said...

Yippppeeee, Yaaaaahhooooooo.
It's about TIME.

I peeked at Terrierman's blog, oh that is such GREAT news for dogs.

Thanks, MoT, you made my snowy day better!

an American in Copenhagen said...

I wonder how long it will take for these changes to be seen in the show ring. Will top breeders bring in some less extreme individuals to their kennels? Will breeders with less extreme dogs be able to win over established breeders' dogs if those dogs are of the older extreme type? I thinnk it's in the hands of the judges for now but show ring politics is not on the side of the dogs.

muttpuppiesontrial said...

It is good news for dogs, so I don't wanna be a wet blanket. But you're right, AC. I sense that these changes will be met with a lot of grumbling among show ring enthusiasts. And did anybody notice the revision to the Rhodesian Ridegback?

Characteristics: A distinctive feature is the ridge on back formed by hair growing in opposite direction to the remainder of coat; [Delete ‘ridge must be regarded as the escutcheon of breed’].

Terrierman's right when he says the Kennel Club's going to do as little as it has to. BUT, at least it's a good start...

water_bearer said...

It's not quite enough but it is reeeeallly close and it's a helluva lot more than the AKC is doing. It's pretty awesome in fact.

Loose jowels are a bigger bane for me. In some breeds like Newfies and Saints or gun dogs, the idea behind having a looser lower lip that hangs down past the upper lip was that so when they were coming back to their master with something in their mouths like a rescued human or a pheasant, they could still breath through the channels at their cheek created by this skin formation. That may make a teeny bit of sense. Of course, when you have people breeding for it for so long and they forget why, all you end up with is a house dog that drools all over everything. In my lifetime, I watched this happen with Springers. The first dogs we had didn't have this problem. In fact, their upper lip is supposed to hang down over the bottom. But somehow over the years, loose droopy lips period were the fashion and the last couple of dogs my parents kept had one nasty byproduct - drool. Popular sire syndrome. Wonder if it's still a problem.

BTW, neither GSD's nor ASD's are supposed to have dewlap and yet my cross Layla, does have quite a bit relatively to how she is otherwise pretty tight on the rest of her body. In some breeds, with certain jobs, i.e. ones in which they may have to have some other animal's jaws wrapped around their throat, it's beneficial for the skin to be more loose in that spot so as to make it less likely that when said killers' jaws clamp down, they'll be anywhere near any bone or vital artery. Instead, they'll just be hanging onto skin. So the theory goes anyway. I think this was (supposedly) the original intent with Neos, but like most things when humans get a hold of it, it doesn't take long before it's so greatly exaggerated as to be ridiculous. The poor things. They're so deformed they almost don't even look like the animal they're supposed to be... kinda like some Halter QH's, Arabians, or Akhal Tekes don't look much like the distinctive yet still equine versions of their breeds from just a few years ago. Instead they look like horses crossed with giraffes or Pit Bulls.

Also, I always thought that dewlap on Bloodhounds was counterintuitive. I think their tracking prowess has everything to do with their power to detect a scent being stronger than some other breeds and that being selected for over the years and not a single thing to do with some b.s. notion about skin folds. In fact, I submit that the loose skin is a hindrance. The floppy ears and the skins folds which are supposed to furrow down towards their nose when it's put to the ground to follow a trail, supposedly help the dog by "trapping the scent." Now, here's where I get lost and maybe I'm just stupid or maybe I'm just too lazy to go look up whether or not there's been a credible study proving this helps but...
HOW is that supposed to help? If the purpose of a tracking dog is to have it distinguish between all the conflicting odors and chemical trails left by the gazillion other things competing in its nose for the attention its trying to focus on ONE part of that potpurri, WHY would you want scents to hang around even longer on the dog's face? If it's trying to follow the trail of "bad guy's sneaker" through the woods, wouldn't the lingering aroma of "garbage dump fish guts" he just dragged his ears and face through be a hindrance hanging around? I mean, it's not as if just because some human thought it'd be a good idea for the dogs' tracking abilities on the one scent they want it to follow that the unwanted scents "know" not to hang around. Is it just me, or does this not seem wacky?