Don’t Tell Me About My Dog

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column

Diehard show dog people love to talk about their dogs. When visiting your local AKC all-breed shows, it does not take much persuasion to get an exhibitor to expound upon the many outstanding features their dog supposedly possesses. On the flip side, they typically do not hesitate to ever so casually point out the less-than-desirable features of a competitor’s dog. This is usually finished up with Now, that is just my humble opinion. This reminds me of the Southern charm in offering the statement Bless her heart after one has thoroughly dragged the other dogs through the muck and mire of dog-show drama. It is rare for a serious dog show exhibitor to capitulate to the competition, thus they seek out others to substantiate their claims—well, at least those who adhere for whatever reason to their train of thought. Always be careful of who and what you are talking trash about, as turnabout is fair game, and this is a good piece of advice to heed. Listen and observe while making your own decisions, and this will keep you out of a lot of mudslinging. Nothing gets a show dog owner more upset than to find out someone is talking smack about their beloved little pupper-dog.

It is interesting when someone approaches a well-respected breeder and begins a conversation on the breed standard and how it is applied. They can ride the bandwagon on the weaker features of other dogs, but when it comes time to review the virtues of their own dog, you quickly learn, I will tell you about my dog, but don’t you tell me about my dog. All respectable dog show judges will articulate to you that it is easy to fault judge, but someone who knows the virtues of any given breed and can reward those coveted physiognomies is the one who gains the most respect of seasoned exhibitors. One well-known multi-group judge uses the following statement regularly when approached by an exhibitor who really isn’t interested in the truth about their entry: “Well, it will take a better dog to beat him!” The exhibitor leaves with a sense that the judge likes their entry, but in reality the judge hasn’t said anything substantial with this proclamation. If you ponder on this, any dog can be beaten by a better one. Stick that one in your back pocket, as it is a safe and easy way to get out of a confrontation with an intense exhibitor.

The overall conclusion we are attempting to extract here is this: Flipping through the Rolodex of people you associate with at canine events and only listening to those who agree with your assessment of your dog’s virtues will not improve your perceptiveness of the breed. If you already know everything about your dog and are not willing to take the commentaries of others, then why bother even asking anyone, other than to stroke your own ego? Those who look to only obtain validation may receive temporary satisfaction, while those who look for constructive criticism will eventually find perfection. Yes, it is sometimes discouraging to hear the truth, and not everyone will be correct about their comments, so you have to sift through them and find those that are applicable. If several people make similar comments that your dog has a weak rear or needs to lose a pound or two, chances are it’s the truth. You may want to ruminate about that. We all show our dogs with heart, but you must evaluate your dog with your head. This is one of the many differences between being an average breeder or a great one.

-David L. Anthony

First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, June 2019.

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