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Quarter Horse | Why Breed Standards Matter

Posted By: JR

I got into a semi-heated conversation about infamous Puppy (Mill) Alley. For those of you unfamiliar AQHA Congress is the largest horse show in the United States it goes on for two weeks and has every class imaginable and lots and lots of shopping. Okay I have never been because living in California meant it was WAYYYY too far and since moving east I primarily had Paints.

And frankly I just don’t get Congress. Never have never will. To me it is a lot of money for one set of points. But to AQHA people it is like winning the dog world equivalent of Westminster. So yes I get it – I just don’t get it.

But at Congress is this area called Puppy Alley. Puppy Alley has loads and loads of cute adorable puppies. Lots and lots of squeezable soft cute as the dickens, take one home and love it forever puppies. For a nominal fee the folks at Congress let you set up and sell your puppies.

How adorable!

The dark side is this, guess where the puppy mills bring their puppies, and the Amish production breeders and the clueless backyard lets make a buck breeders come – well to CONGRESS! Because how can you resist a darling sweetums puppy!

And yes there are a few good breeders who do genetic testing there but for the most part see above. Oh and the even better part? When Congress is over many of these surplus puppies end up dumped at the pound. The Columbus animal rescues must just love October.

A Rottie friend and I were bemoaning this on Facebook. A lady piped in who got her Golden there who ended up with severe issues and was put to sleep at nine months of age. A few others as well, sick puppies, puppies that were not socialized but of course a couple who got their beloved friend at the show were unhappy.

They did not want to hear anything about their dog. And I get it I truly do. We love our pets but the fact is that for the most part – none of these dogs were well thought out with proper genetic testing done on their parents – they were just made to make a buck. I am very happy that for this guy it worked out – but not everyone has a happy ending and all this does is allow people to continue to make money and for the dogs to suffer.

So the discussion deteriorated (no yelling or hurt feelings) and it came down to this. He proclaimed that it did not matter to him that his dog did not meet the breed standard he was a pet.

And it really got me thinking. The Breed Standard is by definition the definition of our breed and without it our dogs have no identity. Now I have no clue what he meant by that, maybe it is a wrong color or it’s legs too long or short or whatever.

But think about it this way. For the horse folks – doesn’t it tick you off when someone proclaims they have a registered quarter horse and the horse has the hip of an Arabian, the legs of a Percheron a big roman nose a ewe neck and knee action that would make a Clydesdale envious? Oh and then they want to breed it because it is REGISTERED.

Oh yes horse people cringe and wonder how on earth can they can keep a straight face. Well to dog people when you buy a dog and it does not meet the breed standard and no thought went into it other than dollar signs that’s how we feel.

Or maybe I should brag to people about my high performance car and then point to my Hybrid Prius. Heck legally you cannot go over 65 and if you floor it going downhill it can hit 70 so whats the difference a car is a car right?

When I see an Aussie I want to see a dog that looks like an Aussie – not a large border collie or merle looking Corgi. Australian Shepherds should look like Australian Shepherds . The same with any other breed – the standard was made for a reason. They need to have a certain structure to do the job they were bred for. When they do not then more than likely they will have physical issues.

And of course even with genetic testing you can get issues – but through testing a good breeder can find ways to correct it or cut the line out of their program and spay or neuter and re-home. If you never test you never know – and the risks are so much lower in a good breeding program then the uterus meets sperm breeders.

I have spent so much money and time to find the perfect daddy for my Aussie, to do the progesterone, to do the genetic testing, the AI costs etc. Yet you talk to people and they think if it is a pet all that is unneeded. Well tell that to the lady who had to put her nine month old pet to sleep – she spent thousands and yet he is gone. I am sure the *breeder* will have another batch cooked up this year – and another batch of heart broken owners this time next year.

And even sadder is despite the drum beat of people warning people – people are eagerly awaiting the arrival of those cute puppies. A friend of mine suggested instead of Puppy Alley should instead opens it up to rescues. Wouldn’t that be a much better thing? I would much prefer to see breed rescues and other rescues get an opportunity to find good caring homes.

Just a thought.

About the Author:

Jodie Strait offers her opinions on a variety of subjects injected with humor and razor sharp intellect on her aptly named website http://www.JodieStrait.com. In it you will find information on her passions, Australian Shepherds, Photography and anything else she finds interesting.

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