Did anyone watch the PBS documentary the other night on the state of pedigree dogs in the UK?
I did and I was disgusted at what the show ring and inbreeding have done to several breeds. Most shocking to me was that the breeders are so caught up in the sanctity of breeding to the Standard that they don't realize the damage they are inflicting upon their animals in terms of health and future generations.
The examples cited on the documentary of structural, facial and skull changes over the years were striking. I was shocked at the footage of the German Shepherds in the show ring -- their back legs out of portion and misaligned, and a breeder saying what a perfect specimen in conformation to the standard the winning dog was.
When one Cavalier breeder tries to do something about a fatal hereditary condition, she was vilified by the rest of the breeders. The frosting on the cake was when a dog afflicted by that same condition won top honors in a show. Makes one wonder how these breeders could be so brainwashed that they think it's perfectly acceptable for a dog with a fatal hereditary condition to be allowed to compete and then go on to sire hundreds of puppies. What were they thinking?
I have heard this documentary isn't real new, but it was new to me. Here's a link to it if you're interested in checking it out:
In relation to Shetlands, arguing over fleece length and type is pretty mild stuff. I'm in favor of maintaining as wide a genetic base as we can, but blindness in certain lines is a serious issue that really should be addressed. Breeders shouldn't be in the dark when it comes to the genetics producing blind lambs (sorry for the pun there).
On the Bluefaced Leicester front, there are accusations of crossbreeding in the purebred flock flying just as fast and furious as in the Shetland breed.
And there seems to be no shortage of UK experts willing to tell us just how bad the North American Shetlands and the Bluefaced Leicester flocks are. Maybe it's time we all take a step back and try to get a more objective view of what's right in front of our eyes -- real live sheep, with good points and bad points. We want them to be useful specimens, not just show ring beauties. (Although my little Landon is the exception of course! LOL)