Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Just how far will some people go to have a champion? Are there no limits to what some will do to have a winning dog? Some would think if you want to win so badly, just go out and buy another dog that doesn’t need the expertise of a cosmetic surgeon or a professional hair dyer. But what about those dogs that are so very special in every other way but something is stopping them from winning……too washed out in pigment, only one testicle has descended, only one ear went up, etc. If only he didn’t have this “minor” fault! Well actually, it isn’t so minor after all. It’s what’s preventing the dog from winning on his own merit and it’s what he’s going to produce when he’s bred and it’s what he’s going to perpetuate in his gene’s for generations to come.

Cosmetic surgery for dogs has been going on for years with docking of tails and cropping of ears in some breeds. I wonder that the public would have thought these dogs were beautiful without these changes to their appearance. It’s just something that we have become familiar with.

Rumors have run rampant for years among show dog people as to which dogs have had dye jobs or other cosmetic surgeries. It’s not unheard of to see a dog looking red as the clay in Georgia at one show and then the next time you see him, his red has faded to a pale peachy color. Some very famous dogs have been rumored to have had cosmetic surgery but it makes one wonder how much of the gossip is hearsay and how much is actually true. Competition among show dogs is fierce, especially among owners of stud dogs.

The top cosmetic procedures for dogs are: testicular implants, tail docking, nose job (for dogs of other breeds who have breathing problems, ear straightening, silicone ear implant, face lift (for other breeds who have lots of wrinkles), eye replacement, and braces for teeth.

Some veterinarians have banned tail docking and ear cropping in their practices. The AVMA (American Veterinarian Medical Association) has disapproved of this practice for years. The AKC (American Kennel Club) feels this elective surgery is appropriate for certain dog breeds. It only allows tail docking, ear cropping and dew claw removal. All other procedures done to change the appearance of the dog are not allowed under AKC rules.

There are those who have written to me and asked me, “Well what about products that people use on their dogs at shows to make their coats look more full and lush? Isn’t that changing the dog’s appearance? Yes, I guess you could say that it is. In my opinion, ENHANCING what the dog ALREADY HAS is totally different than CHANGING what the dog DOESN’T HAVE. Making something look better that the dog ALREADY HAS is one thing. ADDING something to the dog that he DOESN’T ALREADY HAVE is unethical in the dog show world. Unethical or not, it is done. It’s the nature of the beast. (No pun intended)!

So what does the breeding public do about these things? It’s been going on for years. Will breeders who stand up to these unethical practices make a difference in the dog show world? Well they certainly can by not breeding to these dogs and passing their genetic faults to the gene pool. Will it change the practice of some of those who think that they are “untouchable” and therefore, will continue to do as they please? Probably not! Getting proof that someone has used cosmetic surgery to change their dogs appearance would prove very difficult unless the dog in question were made to have x-rays. Dye jobs are much easier to prove. This is something that you can see perhaps from one show to the next. There are those who are mad as hell with those who dye their dogs and are standing up and speaking up against this practice.

We all want to own the pretty dog, the one who makes heads turn. There’s nothing more rewarding and satisfying than to hear the thunderous applause from your fellow exhibitors when your dog is out in the ring looking magnificent. But it’s when one wants to win so badly, no matter what and resorts to all sorts of “trickery” to achieve it, that it no longer can be considered a sport.

Cosmetic surgery is very expensive running thousands of dollars for the owner. It also is very risky for the dog that may have complications during surgery or after and sometimes losing his life.

My rating: cosmetic surgery for vanity purposes: (1), dying dogs: (1)

1 comment:

  1. Barbara,
    Very interesting subject; I have heard comments from some people who claim that because they had puppies, from a well known stud dog with very dark pigment-both colors,that he must be dyed because their puppies were lighter...dah! That may or MAY NOT be true...look carefully at the pedigrees, if there are any dogs in it on either side that were lighter, that MAY be where it is coming from not necessarily that the stud dog is dyed...I have bred into one such line; my dogs are very dark-both colors, some are really red "tan" others are a little lighter but still a rich tan...but when you look at my bitch line, going back five generations,and I have the photos to prove it, they get their color naturally from my bitch line and the stud dog's I said some variation, but all rich just because a stud dog is richly pigmented does not guarantee ALL puppies from a breeding to him will be must know one's pedigrees -BOTH sides...the genes do not JUST come from the immediate parents; and not be quick to point a finger...not saying that there is no dying done by anyone, because I have on occasion over the years seen dogs from one month to the next and wondered if it was the same dog...substitution does go on as well...some people might think that we need DNA testing on entering a ring as well...I guess you can carry things too far in any case. The old saying, that you cannot legislate morality/ethics is true, because where there is a will there is a way. I am just saying that there is more than one answer to the question, it is not an automatic conclusion!