Tilley could turn on a dime and fly with ease. She had amazing structure.
Yesterday Elsa and I were stopped by a woman at the park. She called out to me "beautiful" from afar and as she got close she asked "was she ever a show dog?" I smiled because I have been asked this many times and as always the answer given was "nope." Then the woman continued "I use to show and breed Dobies, she has an amazing gait." "Really?" I asked and told her "I started my dog life in the ring with Dobies," and her interest was peaked. "Really?" she asked. We were both on our morning exercise walk so we were sort of talking and moving past each other. She said again before we went our separate ways "beautiful gait."
I'm all about movement; it is something that I find myself watching always. I don't care what breed or mix a dog is, I like to see nice movement. Nice movement to me means that a dog moves easily with structural soundness. No it has nothing to do with a fancy pedigree. It has to do with structure and if a breeder cares about it, then their puppies will likely be one of the lucky ones.
It is truly mind boggling what has happened to many dogs at the hands of humans. We have tweaked some breeds and mixes beyond recognition and continue to do so. There are breeders who care more about a big winning ribbon than proper structure so a big show wins mean nothing to me. Give me a dog that is built, one that moves much like the canine ancestor, the wolf.
Why do we think that we can do better? Let's take a big dog and give them 2" legs, or angle their back legs so much that they are no longer able to walk properly. Build a dog so that it looks like it is floating when it moves. It is all very sad.
No, Elsa is not a show dog but she is an amazing athlete. She would not win a ribbon in the show ring but she's got structure, great structure for movement and I know this from simply watching her. She is strong, she cannot jump like Tilley could but she could probably have out distanced her. Tilley was more compact than Elsa. Each is an individual. Like us.
A litter of wolf pups are not all identical. There will be stronger pups, faster pups and pups that are more agile, but they will have proper structure. If not, then they may not survive.
Too many dogs today have poor structure. Does it make them any less of a wonderful dog? No. What it does is make life more difficult for them in many ways. Perhaps they cannot run like they should be able to. Maybe they hurt from joint issues. Or their body is failing them far before it's time. It is all very sad. What the hell are we doing?
Humans are breeding dogs and doing whatever they want. The cute face with tiny legs, the sloped back (for what reason I don't know), the mixing of breeds to produce super puppies; and the lies to prospective buyers of perfection. Taller, shorter, more coat, new rare colors, more angle, floating movement and more. More and less and far from structurally sound.
For each breed of dog there is a standard. Show dogs are to come as close to that standard as possible. But who writes all the standards? Funny isn't it? We humans are all very different and we are fine with that. Fundamentally the same yet very different. I am 5' 1" and I have a twin brother who is 6' tall. But within a breed of dogs they are meant to all be the same or as close to what has been written as possible. Hmmmmm?
I saw a photo of a dog yesterday; the dog's neck was so long that I was having a hard time getting my head around the logistics. How could the neck be so long? More is not better, not always. Sometimes less is more. Perhaps we should all take a good hard look at the wolf and see how far we have gone wrong.
No, Elsa is not a show dog. Yes she does move beautifully; I could watch her move all day. It is easy for her and I am happy for that. She is structurally sound and that is what we should be giving our dogs.