Now for the answers on why the stereotypes held for Dog Shows should be discarded as nothing but misconception. I’ve broken the seven points into four parts, with two each until we reach the final point which I feel very strongly against and will most likely have much to say.
Many of these points work against one another so it is important to note that I may repeat points occasionally. I will do my best not to do so within one post, but between posts this may happen.
1.) Dog shows are beauty pageants.
Here’s one that’s partially correct. Yes, judges are looking at the dog and comparing them to the “perfect” dog as written in that dogs breed standard and this could be viewed as a pageant of sorts. On the breed level, where the judge is looking for the Best of Breed or BOB for a show. On this level it may feel like a beauty pageant because the dogs are all competing against each other to see which fits this standard the best. However, those standards aren’t just cosmetic, more on this later. When it gets to the Best of Group and finally Best in Show level of a dog show, when they are not breed specific, the dogs aren’t actually competing against each other. They are all competing against this mythical “Perfect” for their breed. The dogs are then marked 1st, 2nd, and so on depending on how closely they fit the standard.
This is important though because through dog shows, breeders are showing that their foundation stock and breeding dogs are enhancing and bettering the breed. If a breeder is not able to do this, to show beautiful dogs who fit the standard and are personable, then they shouldn’t be breeding.
2.) Show Dogs are inbred and riddled with health problems.
So this is a two fold comment.
For inbreeding, This one used to be true and many irresponsible breeders (meaning puppy mill and backyard breeders) may still continue to do so. Responsible breeders will not breed two dogs who are close in lineage. This means no parent to child breedings, no pairs who share parents (whether they are litter mates or not), no grandparent to grandchild breedings, and even a great-grandparent to great-grandchild pairing would be looked at negatively in many situations. This is part of what we can love about having “papers”, or your pets lineage and pedigree. You can see lineage usually up to three generations at the very least.
For health problems, this is a large source of confusion. People looking at purebred dogs, and at particular Breeders, will begin to see that almost every breed has one or more health tests that are done to the sire and dam (male and female in breeding pair) and to any puppies, and they also may find a list of possible health problems. To someone who doesn’t know any better this might appear to be a kind of admittance of health problems. What these tests actually do is prove that the dogs being bred are proven to not carry these hereditary diseases and also show that they are not displaying any signs of future problems, such as hip checks on dogs whose breeds are susceptible to hip dysplasia. If a breeder is using a dog with health problems in their breeding program, then something is wrong. This is also why dogs with faults should not be bred, such as “Fluffy” Pem. Corgis or ones with too much white. These faults can lead to problems in future pups. “Fluffys” have a coat which is unsuitable for herding as it is not the water-resistant coat of an Australian Shepherd and will matte and catch burrs easily. Corgi’s with too much white, especially on the head, are actually prone to become blind and/or deaf. To breed any dog with one of these faults would be to subject future generations to these problems as well.
This thought has also been perpetuated by the idea that mixed breeds or mutts are overall healthier than purebreds. It has recently come to light through a scientific study in 2013 in the Journal for the American Veterinary Medical Association that mixed breeds could actually be equally healthy, or unhealthy depending on how you look at it, as purebred dogs. The reason for this being that dogs who breed to create mixed breeds are usually made by irresponsible owners. I do not say breeders here as in many cases the owners do not intend to breed their dogs. The exception being the recent “Cross-breeds” who are coming to popularity such at the Goldendoodle and the Beabull. These dogs may have begun as an irresponsible owner situation but more and more reputable breeders are doing these pairings because of popularity. It is still very important to cross check your breeder, especially for cross breeds, as these dogs aren’t recognized by kennel clubs and many responsible kennel club breeders will tell you that to cross breed a dog is not in the end all benefit for either breed. I will talk more on this in my post about purebred dogs specifically.