When I see all of the titles that some people have attached to their dogs names in the front of it as well as the end of it, I’m totally amazed. These breeder/owners are truly utilizing everything that is available to them to get their dogs titled whether its conformation, obedience, hips/elbows, or heath and temperament. This then is truly a partnership. The dog is genetically born to be what he will be, but it is the owner’s true dedication to ensure that her animal will be that and so much more!
I remember one of the icons of the breed wrote to me privately about something I wrote one time and he told me that he is the creator of the puppies that he produces. He is the genius behind their greatness! He was certainly very successful and his dogs are behind many of today’s top winners but his words made me stop and think. I think the word “create” made me uncomfortable. I think one may say that they are the “mastermind” behind their dog’s greatness. One may say that they are responsible for the combination of the bloodlines that their dogs have. But I don’t know that I agree with the theory that man creates the dogs that he owns. We can’t create the DNA combination that our dogs carry in their bloodlines. Sure because we are their breeders, we chose the partners for our dogs and therefore are responsible for the bloodlines that our puppies have, but we can never take credit for the combination of those genes because we just don’t know which ones will produce the finished animal. That is up to the true creator to establish that.
I believe that breeders can produce some outstanding dogs. The dog may have every wonderful physical and mental attribute that one may wish for. He may be the best side gaiting dog you ever bred. His coat, his pigment, his secondary sex characteristics may be everything that you are looking for. Then you put him on a lead and he plods along side of you. You’ve even sent him away to be trained. You’ve taught him how to bait, you’ve rung the bells, you’ve coughed, you’ve clapped, you even did the occasional cart wheel or two at ring side to get your “uninterested” pooch’s attention. He may look in your direction like you’re crazy, but he still plods along side his “very expensive” handler. This is indeed the type of dog that makes you want to pull your hair out. He is everything you’ve ever wanted to breed for, but his lack of attitude challenges that assessment!
A champion quality young dog may be sitting in your backyard right now and no one will ever see him in the show ring. Oh you tried several times showing him, but it became clear to you that he was far more comfortable at home then running around in circles in some dirty old ring. This is every breeder/exhibitor’s nightmare. No attitude means his chance of winning his championship title is slim, but not impossible. If he does attain the title, you’ve probably vowed never to even try to put him in the specials class because getting him his championship title just about cost you your sanity.
So many young dogs may be born for greatness but will never realize his full potential because he has made up his mind that showing is just too darn boring and a waste of his precious time. I am a firm believer that you can’t put attitude in a dog. Either he has it or he doesn’t. It’s just like some people. Some people are very “out there” and jumping from one thing to another. It seems like they never can sit still. Then you have others that seem like they’re “half dead.” The sky could be falling and they wouldn’t even know it was happening. It’s no different with the dog.
I believe that the potential for a champion may be bred into him. I believe that the breeder/exhibitor is responsible to give her animal every chance to utilize that potential to become the best that he can be. I don’t believe however, that you can make a dog a champion without his cooperation.
My rating: Show Dogs need a good attitude for the conformation ring: (4)