At this stage it ought to be evident that the overriding cause of genetic defects and inherited diseases in animals is not just unlucky coincidence. It is the direct and unavoidable consequence of lack of knowledge among breeders about some basic rules of Nature. They have not had knowledge enough to foresee the consequences of the way they have used their animals in breeding. The driving force most responsible for all the mistakes made is the basically unsound breeding practices and contests and trials where rapid genetic changes are desired and where these aims have been given higher priority than health and vitality of the animals.
full paper published Working Clumber Spaniel Society Spring/Summer 2010 Newsletter(Per-Erik Sundgren – NATURAL PROTECTION OF GENETIC VARIATION – PAPER PRESENTED JULY 2006 )
Breed Standard of Points:
It is a most important factor in showing dogs. No newcomer to breeding or exhibiting can know what is expected of his breed, or be successful in developing and showing a specimen of that breed, unless he is thoroughly conversant with its Standard of Points. Am embryo judge must know it as well as he knows the alphabet.
For Show dogs in very breed there is a Standard of Points which has been drawn up by the Specialist Club of the breed concerned. In certain breeds the Standard of Points has held good for considerably over fifty years, with only occasional minor modifications. The whole object of a breed’s Standard of Points is to furnish a breeder or a newcomer to the breed with a complete mental picture of what a perfect specimen of that breed should look like: how it should move when in action; what its natural function is and how it should perform it; and what is required of its temperament. All these details are defined in the Standard of Points, and the breed’s anatomical conformation is described from nose to tail. Correct texture of coat, eye colour, arrangement of teeth, correct type of movement of front and bank limbs, and general appearance are all included.
It is only in recent years that the Kennel Club has taken over control of the issue of every breed’s Standard of Points. They did so by first consulting all the various Breed Clubs, whose committees formulated or revised the points to ensure standardization. Copies of these Standards of Points can be obtained from the Kennel Club. It must be recognized that the chief element in each breed’s Standard of Points is a maintenance of the dog’s natural function in life. Altering a dog merely to enhance its beauty could ruin its natural function, but insistence on breeding strictly to the Standard precludes such deterioration. An exhibitor’s aim should be to breed only specimens which approximate as closely as possible to the points laid down, and to show only specimens typical of the breed. One would add that no judge can be regarded as competent to compare dogs in a Show Ring, assess their merits and place then unless he has a thorough knowledge of the Standard of Points of the breed concerned. I maintain, very strongly, that a judge should judge only according to the Standard, and when acting in that capacity must sink his own foibles, preferences and ideas of what he thinks the breed should be. In his mind’s eye he should visualize the standard specimen, then place each specimen he judges alongside that picture. Only thus can he be certain of determining in what manner the exhibit excels, and in what manner they fall short of the perfect picture. (R Portman-Graham – THE PRACTICAL GUIDE TO SHOWING DOGS )