THINGS I’VE LEARNED
by Arvind deBraganca
A ll it takes is popularity to change the entire outline and essence of a breed. I guess if you keeping telling them incorrect is correct, they eventually buy it? Maybe if it wasn’t celebrated or rewarded things would revert to the norm? Many have lost focus and even more have no grasp nor understanding of the true purpose of our hobby. What is it you ask, simply it is the evaluation and selection of breeding stock that com- pares individual’s quality to a writ- ten standard. A standard set forth to promote and highlight structure for functionality of purpose. Most stan- dards have a General Appearance segment that incorporates original purpose and is followed by a blueprint of perfection. What is so difficult? It takes just one highly promoted, mediocre or improperly presented, animal to ruin the years of dedication and passion of vested preservation breeders. Did I just write that? Yes, yes I did and unapologetically. We have become a society of fads, instant gratification and emotions. No lon- ger interested in the work, patience, dedication, or the journey it takes to produce a consistent and discernible quality family of dogs. Along comes a handler with some reputation, a client with considerable funds and substan- tial numbers of adjudicators whom are “well read” and not necessar- ily well versed all working together to promote a generic animal with no dis- cernible faults but outstanding show- manship. Now you add the masses of instant gratification seeking, un- informed ribbon collectors and it
becomes a veritable three ring circus! Whatever do I mean? Really. Think aboutwhat isbeing lamentedvirtually without end. A keening that is affect- ing the core of this sport. Listen to the breeders, hear them. It is a murmur at shows, a social media topic and even a discussion of roundtables all around the country. Someone has to make it so and it is. What is “IT”? Running at full speed regardless of breed. You know, run fast and be famous. Free baiting every dog to be a Doberman? Showmanship is wonderful, but when it changes the essence of a breed? Make them all generic regardless of what is correct for temperament and purpose. A personal favorite, head high, arched neck and sloping topline for all. Umm, yeah that is a thing and I guess generic is the trend. Each devia- tion to bring forth generic as a norm becomes another problematic ob- stacle for preservationist breeders to overcome and teach away from. This brings me to a solution which is so simple to state and ever so difficult to implement. You need all parties to come together for each plays a role at the demise of what is correct and true. You need mentoring without prejudice or agenda, essentially going against human nature, for the greater good. Then you need students who strive for comprehension and reten- tion of provided knowledge. Students always seeking multiple views to form strong understanding and solidify fact. Adjudicators who will do their utmost to reward quality or do what is necessary when quality is not pres- ent; those who strive to be well versed
and not “well read.” Exhibitors know- ing and bringing quality to the ring without being so self-vested they can not see beyond their leads. All work- ing together make the simple possible. At this point you may be nodding in ascension, but what is causing the dis- connect? The answer is lack of follow through by each individual party or all parties simultaneously. So the battle rages on. One can hope the breeders take themselves, their mentees and judge’s education to task. Teach hallmarks and prioritize their importance, teach functionality of purpose andwhy it is imperative for upholding the written standard and teach adjudicators how to identify and determine the latter two lessons ef- fectively in a real world setting. Adju- dicators need to stop rushing through the process, in an attempt, to gain more status. Remember that you are here to promote dogs, our sport and to do no harm. You will not always have quality or options and then you must learn how to deny awards because it is your duty nay responsibility. Your decisions, level of commitment and attitude will affect exhibitor (old and new) and the breeds you have been given the responsibility to evaluate. Our goals should always be the same; promotion of sound, healthy, pur- posefully bred specimens that adhere to their written standard and always keeping functionality of purpose on the forefront. All working together will make a difference. All together we can salvage the sport and hobby we love and many have dedicated our lives to.
22 • T op N otch T oys , A ugust 2018
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