Flat Footed Working Breeds?
Exhibitor and Judge discuss an uncommonly common fault in purebred dogs, see canine foot chart and share your thoughts on importance of good feet!
April 2017 | TheDogPress.com
Sherry L. Shivley, Journalist Award Winner
Flat feet on a Boxer bothers me. How can flat feet hold up in a big dog that should have a job to do? I had this conversation with a Working Breeds judge. We showed at the Peak to Peak Working Dogs and Plum Creek Kennel Club inaugural shows in their new facility at Arapahoe County Fairgrounds. While watching Boxers, a very nice woman sitting next to me started a conversation. She had been invited to judge Boxers this summer.
The judge commented on how flat-footed the dogs were in the ring, over-weight, and how small the eyes were when the AKC Standards says “not too small”. We discussed the Boxer Standard which states “Dark brown in color, frontally placed, generous, not too small, too protruding, or deep set.” The ideal eye many agree is LEMON shaped.
She was surprised that these dogs were coming back from Westminster and were WINNING in Denver.
Feet or eyes, what happens is that many dogs that finish are often enough NOT the best example of our breed but “The Flavor Of The Day” as this judge called them. Then they are bred and produce more of themselves. The progeny in turn show and what the Judges have before them are cookie cutter dogs, difficult to place because none of them are Breed Standard, but the Judge must place something, so once again, the winners are chosen, they are finished and more breedings are done.
The lady judge also said it was a sad commentary on the Boxer Breed allowing them to get fat, not muscled, and spending too much time in the crate so they no longer had “compact” cat feet.
I thought back to one particular Boxer that placed both days. He spent the whole time in a van at the hotel. I never saw the dog walked or exercised. I was out with my three dogs every hour or so, not only for potty breaks but for exercise so they could stretch and unwind mind and body.
Then I wondered, if these dogs are kept crated so long, why are they so calm in the ring? Mine would be bouncing off the walls. Perhaps we need to start random drug testing as they do horses. The dog that wins is not always the best dog, that is clear even to the spectators. While I was thinking that… the Rottweiler Judge took the class and those waiting to enter the ring to task.
He told them that the heads are not supposed to look like TEDDY BEARS! Since he was chastising the whole group, I would say this is a common problem. According to AKC, the head is medium length, skull broad between the ears, forehead moderately arched as seen from the side. Occiputial bone well developed but not conspicuous. The dogs he was seeing must have been well off the mark for him to be so upset!
I am also concerned about handlers not caring for the dogs, owners not checking up on their dogs, and the dogs paying the price for a $2 ribbon.
It isn’t up to AKC to police the grounds. Some shows don’t even have an AKC Rep there. Perhaps the kennel clubs can extend their statement of no dogs to be left in cars and vans at the shows to no dogs left in vehicles at hotels. If a cell phone video or photo sent to the club of dogs left in the vehicle at a hotel is received, they should not let those dogs show, and have a Vet check them at the owners expense.
What happened to handlers exercising dogs with bikes or golf carts? If they are so busy with clients, there are always Juniors who are willing to get experience with dogs and would be happy to help exercise the dogs.
It’s time to protect the ones who cannot speak for themselves. Talk to your Clubs, see what can be done. Read your Standard before you breed or buy. Make sure you are keeping to the Standard to actually better the breed - not just to throw them in the ring with a big name handler, knowing they will win.
Dog Bless and hug your dog.
Please tell us: Do you still see handlers biking their dogs or running with them in the evenings? (it's OK to flatter a handler by name)