Breeders Choice or Breeders NoChoice…What a Choice!


I have joined a new group on Facebook which is called Breeders Choice. I am interested in anything regarding Australian Terriers (almost) and I already know most of the people that are in the group and also know that they are a wonderful group of people. This is the nice thing about Facebook. If you don’t like a person you can just “zap” them and they no longer exist for you, you don’t have to worry how they are going to take things or hear their opinions. I do worry how my friends take things I say and I do listen to their opinions but luckily, since they are my friends, their opinions are usually quite similar to mine.
If I understand correctly, this group is mostly concerned with being able to show their dogs in AKC events without having to surgically alter their tails or remove their dewclaws. According to the Australian Terrier Club of America you cannot do this without getting penalized. Which means, in effect, that an undocked dog can be as good as a docked dog and lose just because it is docked.
The American Kennel Club consists of many breed clubs. Each breed that is shown and is recognized by the AKC had a club which developed a “standard” for their breed and which had the AKC approve that standard. It actually is quite a hard task and big deal to get a breed accepted into the AKC and to develop a standard that the entire (or at least the majority) of the breed club approves and that is then approved by the AKC. Sometimes it takes years and years because when starting to be recognized by the AKC it is hard to have all the dogs of that breed look alike. For instance, in the southeast they may have broader shoulders and in the north east they may have longer hair and in the Midwest they may have flatter feet, etc. etc. etc. and the people of the club must all come together and decide which characteristic is best for the dogs to be able to perform their reasons for being. Most of these standards were developed years ago when the dogs worked for a living. I’m not saying that there are not any more dogs that work for a living but the standard states what their purpose was/is. I just watched a special on TV about Siberian trappers and they actually rely on their dogs to keep them alive in the wilderness at times.
Most standards, though, are obsolete because of changing times (such as real fox hunting). Still, in order to keep the breeds as close to their purpose as possible, the standard is used by breeders when they or AKC judges evaluate their dogs and their dogs are bred in accordance with and try to get closer to that one perfect dog that absolutely matches the standard. However, in getting a shorter back, for instance, you may breed with a shorter backed dog but that dog has longer legs so you end up with a shorter back but too long legs! Very frustrating.
Now we get to “Breeder’s Choice”. I believe that what the Facebook group wants is just to be able to let their dog’s tails and dewclaws be natural and to not be penalized in the show ring by the judges or their fellow exhibitors that are judging the dogs. This is an excellent start in having the people in the breed club realize that there is nothing wrong with having a natural tail – it is just a deviation from the standard at the moment and MAYBE, our group hopes, will be the standard. The more people that want that to be, the more chance that there will be that the Australian Terrier Club of America will put forth an effort to change their standard and to get the changes approved by the American Kennel Club. After all, docked tails are outlawed in Europe already.
However, where does it stop? Breeders Choice. Does this mean that if some breeders prefer their Australian Terrier’s color to have white in it that they should be able to have white in their coats? I don’t think so but our group really doesn’t specify which choice. Any choice? I, personally, think that the group should be named Breeders Advocating for Natural Tails and Dew Claws because I, for one, would not like to see an Australian Terrier with white spots or five legs or two tails. Although, if one of those things got rid of all the health problems that are in Aussies I would take it.
I am a very literal person and tend to get everything all convoluted because I take things so literally. I qualify everything I say. If asked a question, I answer it with “well if….but then if…, etc” so I’m having a problem with our group’s name I guess. I don’t want Breeder’s Choice. I don’t think that each Breeder should have a choice. I think that a movement should be made to talk with the parent club and discussions should be had with the members and non-members of the parent club and then the whole kit and caboodle should get together and agree. I think it is time for a change on this issue but I’m not going to get into a discussion THIS TIME about the ATCA and the people who control it. I’m sure many Australian Terrier people already know how I feel about the “powers that be”.
My thoughts, convoluted or not do not lie in the hands of PETA or HSUS. They belong in the hands of me and I would much rather see the parent clubs change their thinking than see either of those two groups lobby and make another law for us to follow or what else will come afterward?. Oh dear, Breeder’s Choice? I’m so glad that I’m not a breeder right now.
Have a wonderful 2014!!!

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