Are dog shows hurting dogs? What do think? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Are dog shows hurting dogs? What do you think?

Has anyone else seen these articles. There was one in the San Francisco Chronicle as well as one in the BCC news.

A BBC documentary says show dogs are suffering acute problems because looks are emphasized over health when breeding dogs for shows.
I have never shown a dog and don't know much about it. But this sounds scary. Will our beloved Havanese suffer from these kinds of conditions?

The program shows spaniels with brains too big for their skulls and boxers suffering from epilepsy.

Last edited by tikaboo; 02-09-2009 at 11:40 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 10:50 AM
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I've never showned dogs before (although some day I would love to), but it seems to me like the kind of article that would be written by PETA nazis.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 10:57 AM
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I skimmed over the sfgate article and it is full of misinformation and myths.
I want to abandon the concept of "purebred dogs" and return to the day when we bred dogs for their function and type, not their "looks" and ability to win in the show ring, and certainly not based on a piece of paper that indicates both parents are of the same "breed."
Perhaps the writer doesn't realize that the look stems from the breed type, which is supposed to be there because of their function. Every breed has certain features that are there because of the purpose for which they were created.

Originally Posted by tikaboo View Post
A BBC documentary says show dogs are suffering acute problems because looks are emphasized over health when breeding dogs for shows.
There are a very, very few show breeders who will choose markings and looks over health, but that is certainly not the majority. There will always be people who are willing to overlook ethics, but you can't toss everyone else into this category because of one or two people who choose competition over breed improvement.

Originally Posted by tikaboo View Post
I have never shown a dog and don't know much about it. But this sounds scary. Will our beloved Havanese suffer from these kinds of conditions?
The purpose of dog shows isn't for their looks (some people see them as "beauty pageants" for dogs), but to see how the dog conforms to his breed standard. That is exactly why it is called conformation. Any breed can "suffer" from a person who loses sight of their purpose.

Originally Posted by tikaboo View Post
The program shows spaniels with brains too big for their skulls and boxers suffering from epilepsy.
How does this relate to dog shows? This sounds like health problems that can be flukes or genetic. That's a breeding problem, not necessarily a problem stemming from someone breeding for a show dog.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:55 AM
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i'll just add my support to breeders who health test, and show in conformation, some are members of this forum and some are not.

i think those of you who show are really passionate about your dogs and do it for the right reasons, of course there will be exceptions to this as there are for everything. i think it really keeps people responsible and constantly raising the bar for the best example of a not only a beautiful dog, but the best representative of the breed (temperment, body structure, healthy teeth/eyes, etc...) the beauty we see in these show dogs on the outside is because they are reflecting the beauty of their insides, they are healthy, strong, alert, etc...the grooming to me, also shows the dedication of the caretaker and I don't think keeping a dog, even a pet havanese in a show coat is at all cruel. I spend time grooming Posh everyday, not always brushing her coat, but brushing her teeth, checking her eyes, feeling her body, I've never been more aware of my dog's body before. I think this is a wonderful thing. I found a deer tick on her this fall, and if I wasn't having to groom her in some sort of way I most likely would not have found it until it had been on a long time. She is still a dog and enjoys getting dirty, it's just a little bit more work for me after she's had a play in the dirt party session.

I also think that being able to attend shows and talk with breeders who really have their lives revolve around their dogs is a good thing for people wanting to get purebred dogs responsibly.

I think I could go on and on and have many of my arguments supported by other threads here on the forum about how to get a dog from a responsible breeder.

I'll just stop and say I couldn't disagree more with the blanket statement that a show dog's life is cruel.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:56 AM
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I think there are some traits of breeds, I don't personally like but I would never own those dogs, it doesn't mean all show dogs aren't breed properly. At shows, dogs are judged to their breed standard. A pekingese isn't suppose to move like a Border Collie. I think some of the breed traits would keep me from owning a dog of certain breeds- I wouldn't want to do tail docking, ear cropping, tacking of the eyes, etc. I also probably would never own a dog with a flat face. It doesn't meant it is wrong, it is the breed standard.

I do see a difference of some working dogs, I grew up with Golden Retrievers from a field line. They weren't health tested or shown in conformation. They were healthy but only by guess work by the breeder- he did breed dogs that did well in the field so probably good hips, eyes, but more by trial and error. It could have quickly gone the other way as there was no health testing to determine it. However, I have known some conformation dogs to do great things in other rings. I think you have to look at it breed by breed. But look at the agility titles on some of the top Goldens in the ring now I bet if trained they could have done field work too.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:13 PM
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Thank you for adding the last sentence regarding Havanese Breeders. As to the lush full coats and not playing, unfortunately you didn't tell my dogs and puppies that they can't play together and ruin their coats on a regular basis. My dogs all play together, they do have Championships and I am an advocate for Health Testing and posting it so breeders years from now will have the information to use.
Unfortunately, as with most things the minority is who gets all the attention.
I know some only do shows to have the glory and to promote their dogs but a lot of us show to make sure our confirmation is following the breed standard and sharing what we are breeding with others. If we never went to shows we would not find better dogs to improve our lines, we would miss out on some very wonderful people that we meet and we would not have anything to compare our dogs to. People that are kennel blind and going in the wrong direction would never learn they are taking the breed down the wrong path and shows are a great place for the public to learn what a correct Havanese should look like. If you look around a show ring and the dog that is winning does not look like the other dogs in the ring than you need to ask yourself who is correct and look at the breed standard. You don't breed to the dog who does the most winning you go over a dog and check the confirmation, in our case, that is under the coat. Thus the reason to go to the National or Eukanuba where there are several examples of the breed. Not everyone can afford to go to these places and that is also why we have a National Club to help educate the public and keep them up on how our breed is doing. I think more and more clubs are teaching about Health Testing and what you should be checking for.
I feel that these people look for the bad part of anything animal and embellish it. They do not want to point out any good because it doesn't serve their purpose and that is to make sure that there is no future for dogs, cats, cattle, chickens, etc. in our lives. I am not saying this is right or wrong but why is it that the minority always seems to have the money to back their thoughts trying to lead others in that direction.
I am so glad that I have the freedom still, which may go away sooner than we think, to enjoy breeding and loving my dogs. Please love each animal you have and make sure that right to love them is never taken away because your grandchildren and great grandchildren may never have the same rights as you do now. Please don't kill me for that statement but our country was founded on our rights and they are slowly being taken away from us by the minority. This is a wonderful list of caring people and I am so glad that we all have a place to take our questions and passions.


Last edited by Elaine; 02-09-2009 at 12:20 PM.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Do standards evolve over time leading to these kinds of problems eventually

My heart just aches for the those poor dogs that were shown on the video. Aren't they victims to the arrogant pride of breeders who want to win championships and make a name for themselves by keep up to the breed standard for their breed? Aren't they the breed standard, otherwise they would not be winning championships at dog shows?
Are standards subjective to each kennel club for the same breed? Do they or have they, will they changed over time, to keep narrowing the standard until you have a beautiful mutants? I want to cry when I think that there may be a chance that the Havanese may someday may fall victim to this cruel fate.
What about the breeds that are jacked up now? Do you think that because these stories have aired that it will start to make people in charge of the dog shows think about what they are condoning?
Though some of you said you would never own those breeds, and it is the minority making the rest look bad, isn't there something that can be done to prevent this type of show dog cruelty? Do you close your eyes to the "bad" that is obviously happening in other breeds at the same shows you attend?
To me this sounds just as cruel as a puppy mills, maybe worse as they are doing this stuff with polish, glitz and glam under the of the approving eye of the show dog world. So to boil it all down, this is all ok, because they are breeding to standard and they have champion, clean, beautiful, mutants?
Help me make sense of this? I feel confused and bewildered about the whole thing.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 02:46 PM
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Dogshows are only hurting dogs if breeders allow it. Knowing your breeder is much more important than knowing their dogs show records.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 03:10 PM
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I was very new to the Dog Show world 2 years ago. Had some of the same thought process as those articles. I've learned so much by attending and talking to those who show and breed show dogs. So much of the "bad press" is simply untrue. In my search, I found quite the opposite. In fact, I've now met dozens of breeders and Havanese enthusiasts who are simply in love with their dogs and strive to improve the breed. It's pretty exciting.

I do have 1 question I'm hoping a Breeder can answer. Help me understand. If the final health testing is done at 2 years old, how can a dog truly be a champion until he's been confirmed healthy enough to breed? I've seen so many puppies (under a year) finish their championship. Is that a crazy question?

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 03:49 PM
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There are several of us who continually remind people that just because a dog has it's Championship does not mean it should ever be bred. If your dog continues to grow to the standard and you do all his/her health tests than you know if you should breed it. I have a very nice girl who has never finished her Championship, is completely health tested and produces the most beautiful puppies. I will take her back to the ring some day and finish her but in the same sense I have Championed a lot of dogs that have been spay/neutered because they either failed a Health test or as they grew I knew they should never be bred. Yes it is expensive to get their Championship before you have all the facts of their health testing but look at all the great people you have met and the knowledge you would have missed out on if you would have stayed home.
As to the question of what is right with show dogs, we can only take care of our own back yards, so to speak. Do you condem people who wear makeup or nail polish or have permanent makeup put on? Using powders on dogs and other things are no different, these articles are there to make you think it is cruel to the animals just because they are making them look better. It is no different than a human who does the same thing to themselves. No, the dog does not really have a voice in it and I am not saying it is right but they are not really hurting the animal by doing most of these things to them. People try to point out what they think is bad and by doing so hope they can make you think it is cruel and bad. If you do than they have won, if you look at it in another light than you are an individual thinker and not sucked in.
Now deformatives are a who different thing, I would never agree with any of that but then don't bring that up to the orientals who were subjected to having various parts of their bodys bound in their country to be considered beautiful.


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