Some believe that putting dogs in shows are not helping them either. While some may argue that the dogs enjoy the outing, there is the stress of performing in a noisy and often tight space crowded with both humans and dogs. Dutch consulting geneticist E. L. Hagedoorn postulates: “In the production of economically useful animals, the show ring is more of a menace than an aid to breeding. Once fancy points are introduced into the standard of perfection, the breeders will give more attention to those easily judged qualities than to the more important qualities that do not happen to be of such a nature that we can evaluate them at shows.
Showing has nothing to do with utility at all, it is simply a competitive game. ” (Burns) There have been criticisms that some judges in the popular dog shows do not even know what work the dogs they are judging are capable of doing. Most of the awards are given to dogs that are “beautiful” and “fashionable. ” Because of this, some show dog owners have taken to cropping the ears and docking the tails of their dogs for cosmetic purposes. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is opposed to trimming dog ears for cosmetic and show reasons deeming it as a medically unnecessary and stressful procedure for the dogs to undergo.
The AVMA has called on the American Kennel Club and other breed associations to ban dogs with cropped ears from dog shows. (353) Backyard breeders who join shows and obsess about winning ribbons rather than improvement and development of the breed usually last around five years before the interest tapers off according to estimates by the AKC. This often leaves dogs who are beautiful but whose functions and skills have been greatly diminished. “It is a sad but undeniable fact that breeding to a strict standard of physical points is incompatible with breeding for mental qualities. “(Lorenz 84)
Because awards are given to physically perfect dogs, less attention is paid to the temperament and intelligence of both parent dogs this contention has been proved by the fact that various pure breeds of dog did retain their original good character traits until they fell a prey to fashion. (Lorenz 86) In the article “The Westminster Eugenics Show” by Jonah Goldberg published in the February 13, 2002 edition of “The New Republic,” he criticizes the way dog shows such as the Westminster has demoted the functionality and intelligence of dogs into just prancing for a beauty pageant.
“The problem is that Westminster does not judge breeds for those traits which rightly make a breed a breed. The Pointers aren’t asked to point (even though the logo of the Westminster Kennel Club has been a pointing Pointer for over a century). The Bassets and Bloodhounds do not track. The Otter Hounds are not tested to see if they could kill, let alone identify, an otter. And so on and so on. “With the exception of a handful of breeds who were bred to do nothing but either keep your hands warm or wait until some Aztec chef could cook them, not a single breed at Westminster is expected to do what it was bred to do…”
Another issue about breeders is the level of responsibility they are credited with in the euthanasia of animals who have not been fortunate to be adopted from the shelters. Just recently, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a billboard campaign against dog breeders and their patrons saying that breeding dogs diminishes the chances of those in animal shelters of being adopted.
On their web site, the PETA claims that despite whatever good treatment the dogs under the care of breeders and their buyers receive, they cannot be called “responsible breeders. ” According to PETA, if there is anything that dog breeders are responsible for, it is the deaths of the dogs at the animal shelters who could have been adopted had not the option of purchasing a puppy or dog from a breeder was available. All these issues however, have been strongly negated by dog breeders and owners alike. On the PETA message board itself discussing the new “billboards vs.
breeders campaign” buyers have stated that if they were open to buying dogs without knowledge of their backgrounds, health and temperament-wise, they would have gone to shelters in the first-place. (“What’s up now Breeders? “) Similarly, breeders have posted their defense on the message boards saying that the dogs in animal shelters are the products of irresponsible pet ownership as well as uncontrolled expansion of the dog population through “puppy mills” and feral dogs that have not been either spayed or neutered.