(This blog originally posted on 7/23/2006.)
CKC, or Clueless Knaves Confounded
It's fast growing, popular and the most derided dog registry in the country. No, I'm not talking about the Canadans (Canadian Kennel Club), I'm talking about the Continental Kennel Club - CKC.
"Ooohh" said the knave, "That's the registry puppymillers and irresponsible breeders use. They'll register any dog, all you have to do is send a picture and some money."
Some detractors even set up a website (only the archived version is now available) listing all their grievences against CKC, which they proceeded to label as gospel since CKC never deigned to dignify their clueless confusion with a response.
Well, Ms. X doesn't think anyone should be confounded in this day and age, so she charged up the truthlight and has it aimed directly at this shadowy web.
Open registeries aren't for children. Someone said once that children were born nazis. Meaning, that they crave and thrive in the security of a tightly controlled environment. That's why adults run the world and secure the liberty mankind as a whole thrives in. Dog registeries are the same way. Children crave security of a closed registry with arm length pedigrees, stamped and certified. This puts boundries on the the decisions they have to make as breeders, limiting their responsibility while it limites the capabilities and genepool of a dog breed.
What follows are exerts from the knaves attempt to discredit CKC, and what Ms. X 's truthlight reveals.
1) Open Registry The open registy maintained by CKC registers a dog for whom photographic evidence as belonging to a particular breed has been submitted. This evidence is submitted along with affirmations that the dog is indeed that breed. The evidence is subject to CKC approval, and if approved, the dog is admitted as "foundation stock".
2) "Breeding to much broader standards" A frequently levied complaint is that CKC doesn't have any standards. Why this is a complaint, Ms. X can't figure out. Most registries maintain a set of standards, and none of them are exactly the same. And none of the standards are the same as the standard that was written when the breed was first recognized. Instead, all these differend standards conflict with each other in what is allowed and what isn't (colors, for example), what the size and structure of the dog should be... So finally a registry DOESN'T throw yet another set of standards into the mess, but rather gives its breeders leeway to use what they feel is best for the welfare of the breed. And this is a bad thing?
On the contrary, this is the best approach to keep breeders from focusing on extremes in appearance and constantly changing the standard to keep up with the showring.
3) Services from CKC v. Other Registries Why is "non-profit" a service? The bad thing about non-profits is they don't come with a focus on competitive business practices, and customer service. No Conformation Shows? Ms. X doesn't think any registry should hold these. Conformation shows should be the function of the breed club, and participation dependent upon the competitive goals of the breeder.
CKC does sponser competitions like obedience trials and weight pulling.
4) Why are conformation shows important? They're not. Unless you think all pet buyers are stupid and all breeders have their heads up their u-know-whats. Contrary to the claims of the knaves, the best way to make sure a Golden Retriever looks like a Golden Retriever is to educate the puppy buyer to read a standard and learn about structure. Period.
Likewise, proper genetic testing doesn't do much to ensure the parents of a puppy are healthy. On the contrary, improper obsession about genetic tests can result in less healthy, inbred dogs.
I love this quote: "Responsible breeders can examine pedigrees to determine what defects may exist in a particular line..." I think somebody has found a way to smoke dog poo. A pedigree says nothing about any health or genetic abnormalities in a dog. You find this out by talking to the breeder. The information any breeder gives you about a dog is only as good as the integrity and memory of the breeder you talk to. The other way to get information is to look at publically available test results from places like OFA.
Then the knaves drag out the myth of hybrid vigor. Uuggh.
6) What is a responsible breeder? The clueless trot out a truely tired and inaccurate list. Keep reading this blog, we'll take each one on in separate posts.
7) What is a puppymill? A puppymill is NOT a "volume producer of puppies, who sell to a wholesaler." That is a commerical breeder, who is licensed and inspected by the USDA. The USDA has some strict standards for these breeders. A puppymill is an extremely substandard facility where the level of care qualifies as abuse. These are rarely USDA inspected facilities.
The knaves then list a large number of "signs" of a "puppymill advertisement":
-> "Call for prices and availability". Why is there disapproval of a breeder who wants to talk to someone before telling them prices and when a puppy might be available? Price is extremely important to puppy buyers. Most don't want to pay thousands of dollars for a long list of champion parents when the pup will have allergies, cancer, diabetes, and be brainless and hyper! Acknowledging the customers interest is a good customer service, a hallmark of an ethical breeder.
-> "No specifics of health tests done prior to breeding...is a clear sign of a puppymill". Hhmmm. And a clear sign of an unethical breeder is no mention of the COI of the pups in the ad. Please. Advertising is geared to puppy buyers, not peers. An early screening tool is seeing how knowledgeable a buyer is by the questions he asks. If you play your hand before the game starts, you're going to lose.
-> "Puppies available year-round" This may very well indicate the kennel is self sufficient enough to hire help when the owners are out working their dogs. Certainly it is better for the health of the bitch to breed her on every cycle.
-> "We produce appleheads and deer heads". Uh-Oh. "Deer heads" don't conform to the AKC standard. Puppymiller! Complaining about this is an unethical breeder warning flag. "Appleheads" cause a lot of problems for chihuahua mothers, resulting in a lot of C-section births. A "deer head" allows a dog a better chance at whelping naturally. But these knaves care more about the prestige of an "applehead" dog.
-> "Selling expensive poo-mixes". Designer dogs (hybrids) are an idea whose time has come. And the AKC-ites have no one to blame but themselves.
8) "Are most CKC breeders irresponsible"? Bad data leads to bad conclusions. Ms. X's furry readers are well aware of that.
9) "Why do people use Continental Kennel Club"? People use CKC to prevent their breeds from falling into the same pits as the Basenji, Dalmations, etc. An open registry is a good choice for breeders who are primarily interested in the function of their dog, because of the relative ease of importing and outcrossing to a good working dog that may not happen to have a long pedigree of AKC recognized ancestors. With an open registry it is easier to bring in crucial genetic diversity and add working ability to lines.
A breeder that knows what they are doing, has the guts to make the best choices to benefit their breed and act in their own best interest, has an invaluable asset in CKC.
(Update: the bolded words were originally linked to posts that have not made it out of the archives. The links will be re-established as those posts are re-aired.)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
(This blog originally posted on 7/23/2006.)