Last night after a long day running around with friends, going to the gym and trying to enjoys what they could be the last nice warm days of the year I set myself at home, in front of the TV with Tito, my Pomeranian, to watch the new Animal Planet’s show DOGS 101, I was not only exited because I just love any show that include or is about dogs, but because Jonathan David, fellow contestant of GROOMER HAS IT was going to be featured as the Grooming expert, and my long time friend, Andrea Arden was featured as a Expert trainer, so I prop myself up and waited for the show to came on.
The first breed featured was the FRENCH BULLDOG, who doesn’t love a FRENCHIE!!!!, the segment started with a good description of the breed history and soon after started mentioning a whole list of health issues. It was very disappointing to see how the breed problems were just mentioned as something that it comes with the territory.
As a former dog breeder, and a conformation dog judge I was horrified on how the breed was described. Obviously, someone didn’t do his home work and read the official American Kennel Club and UK Kennel Club breed standard, calling the breed non-athletic, and describing his hindquarters as narrow and WEAK!, yeah, maybe that is what you get from poorly breed dogs, but responsible breeders don’t take those faults as a norm, neither the breathing problems. Below is an extract of the AKC Breed standard:
Hindquarters: Hind legs are strong and muscular, longer than the forelegs, so as to elevate the loins above the shoulders. Hocks well let down. Feet are moderate in size, compact and firmly set. Toes compact, well split up, with high knuckles and short stubby nails; hind feet slightly longer than forefeet.
If we want to take a look on the UK Kennel Club, were the breed was actually created, the breed standard is very clear:
General Appearance: Sturdy, compact, solid, small dog with good bone, short, smooth coat. No point exaggerated, balance essential. Dogs showing respiratory distress highly undesirable.
Gait/Movement Free and flowing. Soundness of movement of the utmost importance.
In either side of the ocean this terrible, painful faults such as breathing and conformation are taken in such as light way as Animal Planet is portraying it.
As a prove on how serious breathing, breeding and other faults are, the Kennel Club in England has taken the initiative, after years of asking breeders to pay attention to shrinking gene pools and to make an extra effort to breed healthy animals.
Last week the two leading dog organizations in the UK, the welfare charity Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club announced that they will be calling for Government support for an independent review into the registration, breeding and showing of dogs to ensure their long term health and welfare.
The review will be set up and funded by the Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club since the priority of both organizations is to promote and support the care, welfare and breeding of healthy dogs.
Said Clarissa Baldwin, Chief Executive, Dogs Trust: “We believe an independent review is essential in coordinating the large body of research and evidence and to advise on workable, timely recommendations for ensuring the future good health and welfare of all dogs.”
The Kennel Club is launching a complete review of every pedigree dog breed in the UK in a move that will have far-reaching benefits for the health of many breeds. It has also called on the government to give it the statutory powers to clamp down on breeders who fail to make a dog’s health their top priority.
A breed health plan will be coordinated for each of the UK’s 209 pedigree breeds and will benefit from the extensive research that has been funded by the Kennel Club in conjunction with renowned veterinary research centers over the past 40 years. This will include updated breed standards to ensure that no dog is bred for features that might prevent it from seeing, walking and breathing freely. Judges will be fully briefed on the new breed standards so that only the healthiest dogs are rewarded in the show ring.
As we can see, some organizations are taking the health issues seriously; you can read the full articles clicking on the Links bellow:
I hope Animal Planet and DOGS 101 producers will pay more attention and become part of the solution, and not part of the problem, after all they always broadcast some of the greatest dog shows. Do I need to remain them that the purpose of a dog show is to price and select the breed specimens that are healthy to keep our beloved companions happy and healthy for years to come? It is up to responsible breeders not to turn dog shows into “freak shows” selecting the best specimens to assure that we can all have the dogs we love, and they are not only cute, but also healthy. Gasping for air doesn’t scream healthy or happy on my book.
Other than that, the other breeds were fairly portrayed, and all the experts look and sounded great!
I’ll be looking forward for more Dogs 101 next week, and then you can stop by here so we can dish about it.