Crufts has been and gone and the glamour has disappeared for another year.
Where does this leave the dogs that have been bred almost specially to take part? We see them paraded and brushed and groomed in order to strut their stuff, and yet sometimes strutting is beyond them. Not all the breeds can move with ease let alone grace. We are all aware of how compromised some of these breeds have become, due to fashion.
The fashion is dictated by the judges, if the judges refused to place pugs that find it hard to breathe or other dogs that have traits which have been “over exaggerated” and applauded and then copied we would still have fit healthy dogs which could function as dogs.
There is always that point before the best in show build up where we are shown each dog at home…yes they have lives-they run and get muddy and lounge around on sofas-we are shown pictures and video of them doing just that. Pardon me for being sceptical but those dogs would have a better quality of life if fashions were not followed.
What happened to function and movement? Not long ago people were buying expensive horses from the continent-horses that ultimately proved to be unsound and had to be retired or humanly destroyed because they couldn’t live up to expectations of the money they fetched as young horses and foals. This was often due to functionality, and often the problems were located in their feet, they were often so weak that they couldn’t keep shoes on-or when the shoes stayed on it was found that they couldn’t cope with the work they were bred/bought for. We have a very old adage in the horse world it is “no foot, no horse”.This was harsh, but buyers were not willing to buy horses that couldn’t be ridden, and it ultimately created a change in thinking, horses needed to be bred for functionality and soundness. This has to be a good thing-it is such a pity that dog breeders often involved in Crufts do not think the same way.
I am not saying that all breeders are following fashion, many of them refuse to breed dogs that can’t move without their bellies touching the floor or that can’t see because of over exaggeration. One of the Basset hounds that competed in this years Crufts,had marked ectropian (the drooping of lower eyelids)-which is apparently “desirable” in the breed. This makes her a victim of many uncomfortable problems and cannot possibly help her eyesight. This was not the only handicap she has been given through selective breeding- the powers that be have decided that bassets should have extremely long ear “leathers” which make her vulnerable to disease, and lastly chondroplastic legs, so short that they hinder her movement.
I cannot fathom why dogs would be bred in this fashion. They are prone to disease and cannot function as a dog should. I bet there are no glossy videos of this particular basset gamboling and actually ENJOYING running about,as she should be entitled to. Fashion has made her a victim, she has no advantage and can surely have no real quality of life. What are people doing following fashions where dogs cannot even move. Suerly function should be as important in the dog world as it is in the horse world-where and when did that change?
The human version of this are human fashion models. This industry also gets highly critised but at least the models that strut the catwalks of the world have a choice. They can turn their back on their skeletal state and choose to live lives where they live as humans should. This is where fashion should stop-on the human catwalk.
The meddling should be stopped and there should be a return to functionality and it should be prized not pimped. Our dogs deserve to have fun