Beauty or brains

I’ve just stumbled across this blog with some interesting comparison photos of mans desire to manipulate the appearance of dog breeds.

It is so sad that over the years breeders feel the need to adhere to a written standards of how a dog should look.

Take a look at the photos in the link above, are the dogs on the right an improvement or not? couple that with the fact that nearly all those breeds are now suffering with health problems of some sort, then tell me the reasoning behind it, because I just don’t get it at all.

The Working Sheepdog/Border Collie, a long time favourite of mine, wasn’t recognised by the Kennel a Club until the late 1970’s, so luckily it escaped a lot of mans early intervention, but even in the last forty years I’ve seen a change in them, they’re all starting to look like bloody clones.

Just as a matter of interest, HERE is the Kennel Club breed standard for the Border Collie.

The International Sheepdog Society was once the only register for them, it wasn’t a register for looks, but of health, intelligence and ability, aimed more towards the farmer and his work, not the posey ‘look at my beautiful dog’ owner.

Compare their idea of a Collie HERE

No wonder the ISDS weren’t happy about the Kennel Club accepting the breed, and setting down a breed standard.

The photo above is of Ben.

I got him from a local farm, he was from true working stock, and his intelligence shone through, but if the kennel club had anything to do with it, he would have been a total failure.

His head was the wrong shape, neither his ear or eyes were wide enough apart, and he was too tall.


He did have one thing right – most of the time- and that was his tail, with the desired flick of the end.

Did it make him any less of a dog…..of course not!

I think he had beauty and brains, though I was a tad biassed.

I’ve been looking at rescue centres again, there’s a big influx of Border Collies, probably once cute little puppies, bought by someone expecting them to magically turn into the intelligent, well behaved image portrayed by the breed.

Unable to use their brain to its full capabilities in frustration they turn to destruction and obsessive behaviour and sadly too many end up hyper, stressed dogs.

Owner can’t cope, takes ‘bad’ dog to rescue centre, where it is a well known fact, that collies don’t cope at all well.

Read any description of a collie in a rescue, and it will state ‘not coping at all well in a kennel situation’

I’ve only mentioned the Border Collie here, but I’m sure there are many other breeds stuck in rescue centres because they are now an unwanted whim or status symbol.

The Kennel Club with its breed stipulation has a lot to answer to!

10 comments on “Beauty or brains”

  1. Isn’t that just a gorgeous colour for Ben? It’s a really lovely rich background. I only ever get beige or greyish for Pippa πŸ˜€

    Before I forget, I love his smile and his alert intelligent eyes. I must take a photo of Snowy’s teeth, as he has a couple of double teeth on the bottom, never seen that before, I assume for grabbing hold and ripping a rat/rabbit/bear to shreds (big Podencos apparently hunt bears!).

    Interesting that presumably Snowy wouldn’t make it in a show ring being albino, although apparently you can have all white Podencos. But does that include albinos I wonder? Anyway, although he isn’t going to get the chance, I have no doubt he would be excellent at his true job. His tally to date has now gone up to one butterfly, two or three flies and a wasp. And they are flying! He’s also an exceptional guard dog already. And yet he was thrown out.

    The breed standard comparison site is interesting and depressing. Maurice posted that link to me in his comment on my rescue post and I thought it was very good. So graphically illustrative.

    The Kennel Club breed standard is quite hypocritical. It talks about standards being in the interests of the dog’s health and welfare – but how can colour be in the interests of health and welfare of a working dog? I just don’t buy that a flaw in colouring or the right/wrong flick of the tail or the wrong length of stop etc etc etc indicates the dog is ‘faulty’ . I use the word as the Kennel Club seem very keen on not rewarding ‘faulty’ appearances.

    Ben def was a beauty. He looks so elegant in that bottom photo too. Who cares if he was too tall? Does that make any less intelligent or capable? Am I too tall?

    Judging dogs on appearances irks me at another level, and that is our human obsession with judging everyone and everything on appearance. In a way, it was a good exercise for us saying that we would take whatever dog needed a home, regardless of breed, age, or sex. Considering how much I rant about people buying desirable pedigrees it was time to put my money (well none actually) where my mouth was. As it turns out we’ve got an intelligent feisty little dog. (Any dog is going to look little against Pippa). We’ve also learned about a new breed – and the sad way they are treated in Spain 😦 – and we have become far more open-minded about smaller dogs, which we wouldn’t have considered before.

    I can’t remember seeing BCs in any of the rescues we visited. At the time, they were full of the big macho dogs eg Dobermans, Rottweilers and GSDs. And old dogs, of course. When we got Prince (97?) there were two other GSDs, and in the other Newc shelter there were more plus a litter of GSD pups that morons were cooing over. When we got Ben (87?) there were a couple of Rottie pups, can’t remember what else, a Doberman I think.

    I don’t even think it is a ‘difficult breed’ issue. I think people aren’t prepared or are unaware that having a dog means investing time and yourself in providing a loving and appropriate home for that animal. For example you know that we don’t wsnt to both go out to work and leave Pippa. Although we’ve now got Snows, and Pipps wouldn’t be alone, Snowy is a young dog and he can’t be left all day.

    A top post Vicky, and right on the mark. The trouble is when will the posey owners ever realise this? Let alone all the KC cronies and breeders scratching each others backs.

    • Yes, I was amazed with DT’s colour choice, I was half expecting grey again.

      He was an extremely intelligent dog, so I made sure he used his brain in various activities, otherwise I can imagine he’d have ended up going off the rails.

      I think the lack of collies in rescue centres when you adopted Prince and Ben was probably due to the fact, they weren’t such a popular breed as far as the general public were concerned. They were still classed as a working farm dog, bred by farmers for the sole purpose they were intended. I may be wrong, but I’m sure farmers didn’t breed puppies just to sell, most I’m guessing would have been bred to continue the working lines of their dogs, with the ‘surplus to requirements’ being sold on. Which is exactly how I got with Ben.

      Recognition by the Kennel Club has pushed them into the public eye, then the breeders jumped on the bandwagon to make a fast buck, selling on to the unsuspecting public, who think they are getting an ‘easy dog’. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as any collie owner will know.

      The more popular a dog becomes, the more are bought on a whim of ‘I want one of those’ and so the cycle goes on, that you mention….GSD’s, Rotties, Dobermans, and currently Staffies.

      There is little mention of Podencos here, though I do remember Ina telling me there was one at the EGLR. I do hope they never become the next ‘I want’ fashionable breed and the KC get their hands on them.


      • Snowy is very demanding. It’s not just puppy, he is hyper, but he’s manageable – he just takes time and attention. But all working/hunting dogs are much of a muchness. Pippa is the exception in that he has never wanted external stimuli although he did want attention in his early days. Unsurprisingly.

        I think I have noticed – generally – comments about collies being clever intelligent blah blah, which will make people think ‘I must have that dog,’ without realising what they are getting into. I’m not sure I would say any of my dogs have been smarter than another, they are just differently wired, and it’s fitting around their temperament that is important. The whole epidemic of Staffie breeding and abandonment is terrible. We knew a fine one at our first house in Beds. Max. Can’t remember what his person was called of course πŸ˜€ He would come and say hello and take your hand so gently in his huge ferocious jaw. he was one of the most tranquil dogs I have ever met, incl Pippa. Staffies have such an undeserved reputation.

        Hopefully Pods will only become fashionable rescue dogs. They are recognised in Spain now 😦 and there is a big split between hunting Podencos and show Podencos!!! Uh!! Something I read said if it hunts it can’t be a show one. Doesn’t that just mirror your collie story? I have to say, I can see them becoming fashionable. We rescued a dog from Spain and it’s a true ancient hunting dog and blah boring blah. They are so intelligent, hunt with all three senses, a great guard dog, and mine is a pure breed. etc etc I could write that because it is true, but as you know, it isn’t why we gave him a home.

        I despair sometimes, V, I really do. I am probably just gutted whenever I hear about people buying a pedigree when there are so many dogs out there needing a home. Now where is Tiree again?

        • Snowy sounds typical of an intelligent dog, in constant need of stimulus. Off all the dogs I’ve had, Ben was by far the most intelligent, hyper and typical of his breed. I remember folk telling me, he’ll slow down around 3 years old, ha! what a joke that was, he was constantly on the go, finally slowing around 13 years. Of the other three (all with some collie in them), Harry had the most collie traits. His desire to herd wheels saw him chasing bikes, pushchairs, skateboards and worst of all cars. Anything that stopped he would circle, including a car once. Jasp was intelligent in a different way, you could see his brain ticking over as he planned the whys and wherefores of life. I imagine Pippa to be like that too. Sally? We don’t call her silly Sally for nothing, nothing matters in her life as long as she has a bowl of food. She really is totally thick, but loveable.

          From what you’ve said, it does sound like the spilt between the hunting and show Podencos is exactly like the BC. Podencos have stunning looks from what I’ve seen, just right for the ‘look at my rare handsome dog’ crowd to latch onto next, though I do hope it doesn’t happen.


  2. Ben certainly was handsome, and from the sounds of it an all-round wonderful dog. Some great information provided, and comments from both you and roughseas that i can only add, ‘what you said’ too. well-said.
    although i was originally a dog-person from my early days, i was later convinced by a stray cat that adopted us, Sammy, that they are great companions too, in a different kind of way. one of my former co-workers who always had a few rescue cats in her home, took a biology course after hours and ended up doing a paper on cat breeds and learned that selective breeding really has had its downfall, too. without human intervention, many cat breeds would not exist, as the results have sometimes been detrimental to cats. Persian cats are prone to respiratory problems, and Manx cats, the ones without tails for your readers who are not familiar with them, are prone to spinal problems.
    so it doesn’t just apply to dogs. i am sure it also applies to other animals as well. having said that, it is good to know that there are people who do not go for the whims and fancies of what is popular, but that they are in a position to open their home to an animal, and do so. not just for the animal’s sake. they do us a whole lot of good, too. i am not sure that our beasties even know how good they are for our health and overall well-being.
    i consider it a privilege to have Timmy in the house! even though he tried to be ever so helpful when i was taking down the Christmas decorations, bless him. πŸ™‚
    and i must say – this is a brilliant colour. a royal presentation for your dear Ben. never would have expected something like this. i am impressed, DT!

    • by the way, i have unfollowed and am now following this blog again. have not been receiving notifications of new posts. hopefully that will do it.

      • I’ve found that happens too. I’m following yours, and get reminders, but on my stats is says I’m not following you. WP is odd!


    • Ben was really good with the girls as they were growing up, and would go everywhere with them and their friends on ‘adventures’ a bit like and Enid Blyton story.

      I hate any manipulation off animals for mans ideals. I’ve heard quite a bit about Persian cats and their respiratory problems, but never about the Manx and spinal trouble. I don’t know why, but I always assumed they were naturally born without a tail. I remember going to the Isle of Man when I was about seven and being fascinated by all the tailless cats. I personally have never know anyone with a pedigree cat, not sure whether that is because those cats are never allowed outside, or that they are in the minority to the common moggy.

      I laughed at the image of Timmy helping with your decorations……Whiskey all over again πŸ˜€

      Yes an unusual regal choice of colour for that pic from DT.


      • Vicky my dear, you don’t mix in the correct social circles if you don’t know anyone with pedigree cats πŸ˜€ Russian Blue, British Tortoiseshell, Siamese … (all same family and you can probably guess who it is :D) Mind you even catwoman over the road has a gorgeous Siamese that I WANTED but A and P said no. Street cat mind.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: