Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Of Bench Kelpies and Barbie Collies

Of “Bench Kelpies” and “Barbie Collies”

A metaphor from Eileen Stein:
There's an ornamental tree called a "flowering peach." It was developed from peach trees, and looks like a peach tree when in blossom, but does not bear edible fruit. If you look at the nursery list of peach trees, you will find lots of varieties, but not the flowering peach; the flowering peach varieties would be in a separate category, probably under ornamentals with the dogwoods and magnolias. There's a market for the flowering peach, but if you called it a "peach tree" and sold it to a commercial fruit grower, or even to someone who just likes peaches, you would be defrauding them. And if you claimed to be judging "peach trees" and chose a flowering peach as the best one . . . well, that would be a fraud too. When all is said and done, the flowering peach lacks an essential element of a peach tree. A peach tree whose fruit is not very good, or whose fruit is never picked and eaten, is still a peach tree, but a tree that is bred for flowers is something else.”

I think that’s brilliant.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Beauty AND Brains"

Aargh! If there’s one thing that always kills me, it’s this comment, usually found as part of any discussion on show-bred vs. working-bred dogs.

On discussing the loss of working ability in Show BCs: “Why can’t dogs be good-looking as well as having working ability?”

On hearing of a Show BC having its first experience on livestock, alongside working-bred dogs: “Brains AND beauty!”

Or the Julie classic, repeated every time we discuss why kelpies shouldn't be bred to a conformation standard: "And, the common mantra I hear from EVERYONE is that no one wants an UGLY dog, even if it IS the best worker ever born. I am not ashamed to say that I like a handsome dog "

How insulting!!! Personally, I find most working-bred dogs much more attractive than the types which seem to be winning and bred for in the conformation world. Long legs, lean, athletic builds, an attractive variety of colours and coats- working dogs are beautiful.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sure, other people may have different tastes, but can they please think about the constant implication that Show-bred dogs are beautiful, and working bred dogs are not?

And on a related subject, I’m stunned on an almost daily basis by how rude people can be (without realising, I’m sure) about working dogs and their breeders.

So, people, when you comment that “all working dogs are crossed with something”, or suggest that my dog MUST be part-kelpie because it has a short coat/prick ears/whatever, or tell me someone has “pulled a swifty” on me if I believe my puppy is purebred, you’re being insulting. You’re either suggesting that working dog breeders are dishonest or careless, or that I’m a fool. Please don’t.

Phew, that feels better.