Columns: No Margins, No Limits, No Kidding!
DIVERSITY AND THE DOG SHOW
Savor this timely and politically correct example of how the dog world respects, defines and preserves the differences that make purebred dogs so desirable.
November 27, 2018 | TheDogPress.com
CinDee Byer, Breed Clubs Editor, Journalist Award Winner
Diversity is; the condition of having or being composed of differing elements. - Merriam-Webster. If the word diversity is defined as being composed of differing elements then the purebred dog show is truly the most diverse place in the world.
The owners, handlers, and judges are made up of fascinating and interesting people from various countries, religions, beliefs and ethnicities. They range from the very flamboyant to the extremely conservative. The people are as diverse as the breeds of dogs they show but they all love dogs as much as this popular breeder-judge relaxing with his pool buddy.
If you can ignore the politics/favoritism of dog shows and how it affects the judging, you will find a purebred dog show a lesson in harmony while at the same time, it is truly an amazing demonstration of diversity.
The dog, like the human, originated in different countries. They developed under different conditions in different parts of the world and both dogs and humans have many diverse looks and body types. In the dog world those different looks and body types are celebrated. They are defined in Breed Standards. A dog breeder understands that the differences in those breed standards enhance the skills and abilities of each breed.
While man flounders to identify himself, the dog is certain of who he is. He never makes himself or his breed a victim. He happily shows in his own ring against his own kind. He shows in a world where no one’s history is more right or more wrong.
All breeds of dogs throughout history have suffered at the hands of man but the dog does not complain. Dogs do not lament the past nor do they demand compensation for history’s misdeeds.
Diversity in the human world is often skewed. It seems to have a different meaning to different people. Some believe it means accepting all as one. To others it means the celebration of a race or a belief. For those with a more radical belief, diversity can only be obtained by creating victims in the name of race or religion. Political factions use this victimization to garner the support of a class of people. It seems obvious that the problem with defining diversity depends on the agenda of the group who is either celebrating or lamenting that diversity.
Politicians today spoon-feed us the idea that diversity is about ridiculing your own heritage in order to celebrate another’s. I find that most people are proud of their heritage. This is why our new genealogy DNA testing is so popular even though sadly, many are afraid to promote that heritage in fear we may be labeled negatively by political factions. The truth is that most people get along just fine without the government labeling our lives.
Life in the human world, as it is with any purebred dog show, can be a demonstration of diverse harmony if we can learn to ignore the politics and just enjoy the show.
“Sticks and stones”? Terms of endearment in the dog show world may be considered racist or harassment in the human world. In the dog world we call the bulldog a “bully” and the Brussels Griffon a “monkey dog”. It is okay to call a Collie “rough” and the Afghan “aloof”. We are encouraged to note that the Boston terrier is a “clown” and that the Doberman pincher is loyal to his master.
Dogs do not live by ego.
A playful male dog may show off his moves to a female and not be charged with a sexual attack. At a show it is perfectly okay to love your black boys and call your girls bitches. And unlike humans who often use minority status for gain or attention, dogs do not see each other as numbers. But with hundreds of breeds at a show, a purebred dog will visually recognize and respond to any dog of his own breed. He will delight in seeing another and no one will call him a breed supremacist.
Working dogs at a show are not persecuted because of their use in wartime. The sporting dog is not attacked because hunting is, to some, politically incorrect. You can exhibit the German Shepherd at a show and not be called a Nazi.
The dog show is a place where we can admire others while laughing at ourselves. The beauty of the dog show is the ability to enjoy every breed of dog but with the freedom to love and promote our own. It is where the participants applaud a beautiful bloodhound just as they applaud the perfect Chihuahua.
The dog show is made up of hundreds of dogs from different breeds. It is the registry that documents each breed and registers the individual dogs. Although there may be 7000 dogs of unknown history banging on the dog show door they are prohibited from entering. They cannot exhibit unless they are legally registered. They are not even permitted to enter the building unless registered and entered into the show.
This is the way the show giving club preserves the integrity of each show and protects the monetary and emotional investment of the purebred dog breeder and exhibitor.
Why? Because it is the respect and acknowledgment of each breed that forms the harmonious diversity within the dog show. It is also the commitment from breeders that preserves those differing, defining elements that make the purebred dog a true definition of diversity.
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