If you haven’t seen the HBO’s Real Sports segment called Unnatural Selection you’re missing out!
Fortunately, I have it right here for you!
Watch this and then come back and see if you agree with me.
Go on. I’ll wait. Really. This is a MUST watch for all individuals involved in the world of dog sports.
Watch it? Good.
Now read on:
Overall it was a very impactful 15 minutes. The phase that stood out to me the most was referring to the AKC as the “Lord of Dog Shows”. While AKC may like the nomenclature, to me it conjures up something more akin to a world filled with more drama and backstabbing than the series Game of Thrones. The problem with being a “Lord” is that often you’re too high up in your ivory tower to realize what’s really happening down below. In this case, they are turning a blind eye to the damage that is being caused to many purebred breeds due to standards that have turned the sport into a mere beauty pageant where form is the end all be all and function be damned. I’ve talked about this before in length and won’t belabor the point here again. What the representatives for AKC say in this segment really speaks for itself.
I’d love to see the AKC be taken to task and really answer how they plan to help stop line/in- breedings. Last year’s Westminster winner was a father to daughter cross and the AKC’s only response was “We stand for happy, healthy dogs.” They said it so much that I wondered if they truly believe that’s what they are doing with the AKC or if they were told to say that (as if saying it made it actually meaningful).
Now, I’ll admit, it’s not entirely up to the AKC to ‘police’. Individual breeders need to step up and start taking responsibility. However, the AKC has enabled this type of poor breeding practice by not doing anything to stop it. The solution is simple and is already in play in the UK: Litters that are line/in-bred shouldn’t be allowed to become registered. Next, start working towards healthy dogs, not just dog that fit a standard on paper. And finally, make sure that all dogs are certified healthy before being bred. Don’t leave this up to the individual breeder; make it mandatory. Is it a lot? Sure. But until the collective dog community as a whole can be responsible in their own actions and breeding plans the AKC should step up and really help make “Happy, healthy dogs”.
So, where does that leave the UKC? They certainly aren’t as ‘angelic’ as the show made them out to be. Don’t get me wrong. I love the UKC. However, Wayne Cavanaugh’s words are great but at the end of the day they are just that… words. Words without any action behind them are meaningless. I think the UKC has started making strides in the right direction but in the years since coming aboard it’s been business as usual for the UKC. Mr. Cavanaugh has been president of the UKC since 2000. UKC still has politics. UKC still runs into the same issues of breeding for ‘looks’. UKC still see’s judges putting up dogs because of the ‘friends and favors’ ideology that runs through dog shows. Like I said, I like the UKC and prefer them and their mission over the AKC but they are far from perfect. 14 years is long enough and I think Mr. Cavanaugh needs to be more than ideology and put words into action more.
Regardless of who is right or which organization is better, at the end of the day it’s the dogs who are going to continue to suffer if something isn’t done. I love dogs. They are a passion. I love dog sports. I don’t want to see them go away but I do want to see an organization truly stand for ‘happy, healthy dogs’.
What did you think?