In a book called ‘Dogs’ by Raymond and Lorna Coppinger a few lines perfectly describe a point of view which I think everyone shares: “…I have to see the shape of the dog at twenty miles an hour. I’m not interested in watching him standing or when he snaps on his behalf, chasing a ball. I have to observe the shape he takes as he tensions the straps of his sled-bound harness. That’s the only meaningful shape for a sled dog. That’s why it’s so hard to judge a dog’s conformation at dog shows, and that’s why real handlers aren’t interested in it: That’s not how they want to look at a dog. In other words: standing still is a behavior; running is a behavior. If I want dogs that stay still, I select those that do it elegantly and without wasting energy. But being a musher, that doesn’t really interest me.”
This reflection concerns the concept of “beauty” in exhibitions, because very often it has been seen especially currently that it totally distorts the functional essence of various types of dogs that should perform specific skills, identifying and expressing a way of being and not of appearing.
The innumerable forms that dogs have acquired over the millennia represent a precious genetic heritage because it perfectly reflects the evolutionary, historical and cultural path of the human species; it’s like observing, studying and understanding an archaeological find that tells the secrets of ancient civilizations, a photograph of what we have been.
If we pay close attention to what we see today in the rings, it almost seems to hear nature speaking suggesting a phrase that should touch us deep in the heart, “We are losing our bearings, so we should stop, apologize to them, thank them and restart for new evolutionary paths together, I understand the strong attachment to the traditional, but if there is involution then you must necessarily realize it and make this change in yourselves.
The exhibitions should assume a zootechnical and dog diagnostic value following functional parameters, objectively describing the morphological characteristics of the subject who adheres to an ideal standard. The practical test is the only one that allows you to really verify your physical and character skills and enhance their qualities. Beauty must mirror function and health.
Our job as a Club is to look to the future with our heart firmly anchored in the past.
I hope you can open your mind and be open to the new realities that await you.
Genetics is essential, DNA phylogenetically bears witness to the evolutionary path of a species, and dogs, with their shapes, behaviors and movements, represent the shell that protects this precious treasure, which is why, together with the World Dog Federation, we have chosen immediately the way of the obligatory deposit of the biological sample since puppies before being sold.
The responsibility we have is enormous and it is up to us to look after it, enhance it, improve it. The “magic”, wonder and drama convey in the incredible genetic plasticity that describes phenotypes (morphological and character) fruit of the period we live in and only we are able to understand if the paths taken are right, dogs, with their shapes, they suggest the right path to us, they offer the possibility to meditate because what we see in them is exactly our reflection.
The morpho-functional aspect of the subject should be considered essential to realize what is being brought into the selection and avoid continuing in a selection based exclusively on the colors and the choice of exaggeration of the type.