some breeders ask why some breeds are losing their 'characteristic
temperament" the answer is quite evident before them in the
show ring. Each and
every breed should have it's own special characteristic temperament
and attitude. Temperaments
and attitudes such as the dignified and aloof Afghan, the reserved
and sensitive Bloodhound, the determined and courageous Bull Terrier,
with his unique swagger as he moves, the bright and lively, active
Smooth Fox Terrier, the loyal and indifferent Chow Chow and the
dignified and fearless Pekingese.
too often do we see some of the breeds displaying traits that
are the exact opposite of what their true breed temperament should
Nervous Terriers, lethargic Sporting breeds, humble Hounds, cuddly
Chows and petrified Toys are not to be desired.
some reason, and there could be many - such as lack of understanding
and care by some exhibitors and handlers - the showing of dogs
has developed some means of preventing breeds from following some
of their natural instincts.
if ever, do some dogs get the opportunity to run through fields
and exercise their sight and scent abilities as well as their
bodies and legs. Can
you imagine some of our show Terriers ever getting the chance
to employ their natural instinct in digging?
Many dogs are not even allowed to run or play with other
dogs, for fear of damage being done to their coats (which in many
cases, are of wrong length and texture).
are restricted in their exercise for fear of overdeveloping their
shoulders. As masters
of the dog we have also to live up to the obligations we have
assumed and allow our breeds the opportunity to preserve and develop
their respective and true and typical temperaments and personalities.
The lack of true breed temperament is just as serious as
many physical faults and more serious than others.
of fire" - "Shows like a bomb" - "Moves like
a train" - "As sound as a bell."
Those are terms we often hear and understand.
Of course, we realize that the dogs we refer to are never
on fire, or look like any kind of a-bomb, train or bell.
It's not easy at times to explain to spectators at dog
shows or even to novice exhibitors but we know what such terms
mean - or at least
we think we do.
temperament is considered by many to be the ultimate of all the
show ring virtues. To others, good temperament is one of the most important
assets of the pet or companion dog.
What some interpret as being good temperament for the show
ring can be quite different from the correct temperament for the
breed the dog represents.
What is considered a good temperament can be quite foreign
to what is typical for the breed in behavior and outlook.
Individual breed characteristics should be just as important as
conformation, size, coat, color, and the many other things that
go into making one breed different from another.
The important genuine breed characteristics in temperament
quite often go by unrecognized and never get credit for their
true value in relation to the breed they represent.
often untypical and undesirable temperament characteristics are
accepted as virtues. How
often do we hear the expression that a dog "lacks fire"
being applied to breeds that are naturally required to be anything
five-generation pedigree can be regarded as a list of names.
It can mean nothing whatsoever about the names that appear.
To that person, one pedigree is much like another.
To be of value, and correctly appreciated, the names in
a pedigree should convey to the reader certain information about
the breeding behind the animal.
some knowledge of the history of the breed, no one can hope to
derive any useful information from reading a pedigree.
Without having seen in the flesh or images such as pictures
or paintings, just what kind of dog the name in the pedigree relates
to, no one can tell. But
it is possible without such knowledge to judge whether the breeding
is the result of a series of haphazard breeding, or done with
some planning or purpose in mind.
too often, unfortunately, it is the pedigree rather than
the dog to which it relates that is the pride and joy of the owner.
The influence of the Champion and how many times it appears
in a pedigree quite frequently has more credit granted it than
is deserved when it comes to comparing the good or important contribution
it has made to the breeding of better specimens.
champion-studded pedigree often impresses the novice.
But it can hold little appeal to the expert who has actual
knowledge of the true merits of the Champions a pedigree contains.
It can also indicate that for generation after generation,
breeding have taken place to Champions or well-known winning dogs
just for the purpose of decorating the pedigree.
breeding systems can produce winners but more often than not they
fail. If such breedings
do produce any winners, they can be very "uncertain quantities"
when they are bred from.
A good pedigree should follow a pattern and clearly indicate
a definite purpose. To
the knowledgeable breeder it should convey that the dog to which
it relates is bred from a particular type with definite breed
desired breed characteristics must be known and seem to be fixed
or established in a pedigree in order for it to be likely to be
is important to know what virtues as well as faults are present
in the family of a pedigree in order for the pedigree to be clearly
understood when read.
is most desirable that a pedigree has the potential to be able
to reproduce to a type. It is most unlikely that any animal will have the potential
to breed to a type unless efforts have been made for many generations
to preserve a desired type.
Haphazard breeding can, and do, produce good dogs, but
this is more by good luck than good judgment.
is more important to know what a dog's name in a pedigree means
when it comes to considering what it has produced, rather than
what it may have accomplished in the show ring.
What is really needed in a pedigree is information as to
whatever may be considered the desirable breed type characteristics
are known to have appeared consistently in the progeny of the