2014 Battle of the Bullies ABKC Show Results
Preference versus Standard
By Christopher “Bully the Kid” Bennett
The reason that there are hundreds of dog breeds is because of preference. As human beings we all tend to gravitate owning what we prefer, from color of dog, coat of dog, and breed of dog . It often just comes down to a preference. Preference is great when it comes to choosing a dog as an owner. After all it’s your decision and the dog is going to be living in your home under your roof and the only person that needs to be happy is you and your family. Preference can be the rule and the deciding factor in which dog you bring into your family nucleus.
Preference In the Show Ring
Now where preference is detrimental is in the show ring. The show ring is where dogs should be judged entirely by their breed standard. The words and definitions that identify the breed as a breed in itself. The breed standard is the blueprint, guidelines , and breed bible pages that describe what a breed is and should be. There is no room for preference it is black and white. It is as written and the dogs that enter the ring should be judged by the words in its absolute form. This of course is far easier for me to type out than to actually implement at times. Dog show judges are human and they tend to occasionally lean towards preferences when judging breeds. Whether that preference be in build, coat color, or type. These seemingly subtle preference picks can be extremely detrimental to a breed in the long run .
How Confirmation Judges effect the Breed Standard
Well I think that some leaning toward preference in a closely matched grouping of dogs is not World War Four, I do think consistently picking based on a judges preference can have a negative affect on a breed. Here is why. A judges job and the purpose of a dog show is to evaluate future breeding stock. If the breeding stock being selected is being primarily selected on an individuals judge idea of a breed as opposed to the actual standard trends become more cemented at a preference will eventually buck against the standard. You see the effect often times based on color of coat. If a particular judge has a long standing preference for red dogs, watch as the breed ring begins to emulate and mimic this judges preference, both in the dogs competing and the Best of Breed ring my have three beautiful reds representing there chosen breed. Judges have a huge impact in this regard.
A more detrimental way that preference cab effect a breed is the ignoring of faults due to a preference. Of a judge loves an over powering front assembly on his bully breed, and will ignore a weak rear as long as the front is to his or her liking. This is extremely detrimental as at that point we will begin to see weak reared animals put up as the representatives of their breed. Other breeders will begin to ignore the fault as well and before you know it weak rears become a major issue in the breed. Judges should never excuse a fault in a breed entirely because of preference this can kill a breed and set back true development in a immature breed. This is why preference can not rear it’s ugly head in the show ring and judges must remind themselves of that fact constantly.
Preference is human nature and we all will choose our next family member based on what we prefer, but that is after we decide on what our preference is. When it comes to structure and health we are hoping that preference takes a back seat, but we would be foolish to think that puppy eyes don’t work on the toughest critic! The puppy cuteness has worked for centuries and will continue to work, but we need our conformation judges to be immune as much as possible and to make their educated and thought out selections based on the standard and not what they would, or do currently own at their personal home.