Where's the beef?

Where's the beef?  Well, I know where there is a good amount of beef but it sure is not in many of the breeds today.    My little Granddog has a great deal of beef.  Penny is staying with us for a four day visit and when she arrived yesterday I was quite shocked by the amount of beef on her.  Which of course has left me wondering where it has gone for many breeds.  Many of you know about Luke's lack of beef, substance or muscle.  He was born and bred a show dog and has suffered for his lack of muscle over the years.  No more so then now though as he ages and loses what little beef that he did have.

I have written about this subject several times but feel the need to bring it up again.  I have seen many breeds go down the same lack of muscle road and it is sad.  Some breeds are going the opposite way, seeming that they can never have enough beef.  Bulldogs and Pit Bulls come to mind after seeing many images of muscle bulging beasts that can barely move because of their over abundance of muscle.   But lets not venture there right now; I want to address the lack of muscle, not over abundance.                        

Fine, flashy, showy, etc. etc.  Moving as if they are literally not touching the ground.  How do you get these lighter than air effects?  By removing substance or beef as I call it.  Lighter bone is also a problem but that is also another subject.  I saw a very nice poodle the other day and she had beef, great beef that made me happy.  When you have a muscle deficiency a dog cannot move like they should.  Sure they might be light on their feet but muscle gives you power; power to move in all different directions.

Muscle protects ligaments, tendons and joints.  Without a good amount of muscle those other body parts are in jeopardy of injury.  Of course there is a natural variation in muscle in every being, like anything else.  But when breeders selectively breed for less to improve the lighter than air effect they are actually handicapping their dogs and opening up all sorts of other physical issues.  I am seeing far too many dogs now who are becoming leggier, but without muscle in those legs.

It is all in our hands, or the breeders hands I should say.  One can take away or give as they see fit.  A phrase that I really hate hearing is "better the breed."  This is purely a personal opinion thing.  There are those making things worse and then the ones trying to fix things.  But both consider themselves to be "bettering the breed."  I'm with those trying to give back; giving back a workable body.  A body that can work through the rigors of a whole day of athletic stuff without suffering injuries due to a fragile body.  You can only work with what you've been given so I ask you, where's the beef?


  1. I fear you won't find any "beef" in any of the gun dogs. As the standard poodle really is part of this group, at least historically, it was (and should be) bred as light and fast as any of the other gun dog breeds. Just think of the viszla, the weimaraner, the GSP, the Irish and English setter, etc, etc.
    What is the purpose of a breed if it is not kept close to it's original working standard (if it is a working dog)?
    After all, a poodle with more "beef" is pretty close to some of the mixes seen today, like the labradoodle, goldendoodle, etc, etc.
    I don't agree that standard poodles need to be beefed up. At least not the ones seen here, in Scandinavia. A lot of them are well put together, a little smaller (21-24 inches and usually no more than 50 lbs)than the HUGE North American ones, but I guess that makes them more harmonious in build. I have seen a number of NA specimens with a VERY heavy body and skinny stick legs... Very unfortunate. But Luke doesn't look like that, now he mostly looks like the geriatric dog he is, with the natural loss of muscle mass.
    Another reason you may see way too little muscle on some specimens, is that some people don't realize how much exercise a standard poodle really requires... I know Luke and Elsa get to run free on the beach and chase balls, frisbees etc, but it's far from all dogs (of all sizes and breeds) that are this fortunate. It really saddens me that some standard poodles hardly ever get to go beyond their "fenced-in backyard".

  2. I'm not talking bulk,I am talking about muscle. There is a very big difference between a bulky dog and a well put together dog with substance. Even the most thin dogs can be very muscular. Broad based heavy bulkiness is not what I'm talking about.

  3. OK, then we're on the same page! :)
    It wasn't really clear to me from the post. Sorry.


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