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Old 11-05-2012, 11:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default what reliable information from conf. showing?

hi i am involved with a small commercial cattle stud - conformation showing was forever an essential part of staying in business. a breeder that did not show soon found another job.

in recent decades the focus on showing has diminished to the point of it being little more than a social event. most breeders don't need to bother.

the reason is that science has given us tools that are more accurate than a human judge watching a beast walking around a ring, in fact there is little correlation to a show winner and a high performing stud animal.

so what is the role of dog showing in the modern era in relation to assessing the quality of an individual animal as representatives of the breed standard??


PS i own my first, one and only GSD.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Are you comparing an animal that is just meant to produce large, meaty specimens to something that is meant to work, think, and interact with humans?

I'm really not sure what you're trying to get at...but I'll take a stab.

Canines have extremely malleable DNA. It changes extremely quickly and therefor traits of the parents get passed on much quicker. I'm also guessing dog DNA is way more diverse than cattle. A cow...is a cow. Good producer of milk/meat/manure? I'm imagining a cow and I have a hard time believing they have different personalities in the same way that dogs do. And when it comes to conformation...there are a lot of little things that you have to look for.

Studding/breeding isn't about being a good producer. The female has a lot of affects on the pups, and also produces 5-10 at a time, so you can see how easy it is to quickly affect a generation of dogs by using one stud. But even a stud dog won't produce consistent puppies depending on the female he is bred to.

So I'm really not sure what science can tell you about a stud when it comes to canines. Except possibly a high sperm count and that the dog himself is healthy.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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cattle may not be the best example. i could have for the sake of argument used pigs, rice, potatoes......whatever, all of which were once judged by inspection only but now rarely and for no important information about the genes. but this is not a cow or farm forum, the point is as the thread title says tho - having said that you obviously have a limited knowledge on beef or any other agricultural consumer product market demands, there a range of complex criteria in beef production, plant production and nearly every agricultural product. your view reflects a modern type of ignorance to the complexities of commercial agriculture - but i digress.

back to the question tho, what kind of information can you get about a dogs fitness to breed or rate it as a the most excellent representative of the breed by judging it's appearance, colour, type etc by walking/trotting around a ring and feelling its nuts (i don't really know what they do exactly), all breeds follow the same general format do they not? so how does one using the same test format distinguish the traits stated in the standard when looking at a GSD or an eskimo dog????

sperm count and health sound like a good start - is this a mandatory requirement to be judged a champion of the breed, i am hoping so. what health test are mandatory to win a show??

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Old 11-06-2012, 09:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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All I know is that the things you are discussing are homogeneous. Very easy to duplicate crops and pretty much make them clones of one another. So the biggest difference is the complexity of the genetic codes you're trying to compare. I'm not sure how prominent line breeding is in cattle...but in dogs it causes huge issues.

What you're talking about is testing for genetic disease...sadly, we don't know that much about genetic disease. There are a lot of tests out there that can rule out being carriers of certain diseases but they are not required. I don't even think that OFA is a requirement to win a championship, but it is usually required to breed (people that know won't accept a dog bred without OFA).

When it comes to dogs...structure, temperament, drive, is very very important. In some ways you can say its more important than guaranteeing perfect health. Where as with cattle/crop those things take a back seat to health. Genes can't tell you anything about a dog's structure, temperament, drives, work ability, ect.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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x11, I know what you are asking, but can't think of a good way to answer you. Hope this helps.

You do have to get away from your understanding of animals bred for meat production when looking at dogs (or horses). While overall skeletal structure and soundness are important in meat or dairy animals, their purpose is to carry that animal from point A to point B for as many years as needed. Obviously there are other things that are looked at such as breed type, muscle, scrotal circumference, pelvic area, etc, but livestock do not "work" or at least were not bred to work (jump, fast turns, agility, protection, hunt drive, etc). In cattle there are more important things like calving weight, yearling weight and height, rib eye measurements, marbling, etc (I have been out of it for awhile so I may be off on some of what was put into the EPD's in Angus cattle). A cow needs to produce a good marketable calf each year that will bring an excellent price. Bulls need to be very fertile with excellent EPD's depending on the needs of the producer (whether commercial or purebred). They, overall, are bred for a single purpose with some differences. I know at one point they were doing some research on how temperament affects meat quality and I don't know if anything ever came of that (that is a bit off topic)

The GSD, at least, was bred to be a utilitarian working dog with many purposes. It doesn't lend itself as well to computer models and science.

In dogs the show ring has in many ways gotten away from the original purpose. It was supposed to evaluate the form that had a function in dogs that still worked and to maintain breed type. It also compared each animal to the standard for that breed and the best specimens were awarded the higher placements. Yes, testicles are checked, but not like in cattle. No, sperm count is not evaluated. In the European ring the only health testing required are for hips/elbows. In the AKC ring nothing is required.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
walking/trotting around a ring and feelling its nuts (i don't really know what they do exactly)
Dogs (males) have to have two normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum. The judge is making sure they are there
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Conformation showing also evaluates the traits which make a GSD look like a GSD. Ear set, tails, color, coat, etc. It also was created to evaluate movement whick was believed to correspond with ability to work. While that may not still hold, that was why they were started.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't feel that a regular all-breed conformation show has any reliability. Judges don't know the breed standard, and choose the tallest or beefiest dog, even if it's against the breed standard. And in rare breeds, seem to pick the most extreme or "interesting" specimen. The only conformation shows that count are the specialties where an expert judge is chosen who is knowledgable about the breed. That is why I do not take stock in any of the AKC or UKC so-called Champions.

Now in Europe, the dog is judged and critiqued and rated with a grade of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair or Insufficient. It may vary between countries, but in Holland you have to get 4 CACs with 2 different judges, and the last CAC* after he is 27 months old to become a champion. CAC is like BOB and is only awarded to the exceptional animal worthy of becoming a champion, not to a dog that happened to beat x-number of competitors.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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x11 if you attend and SV type show you would know the height of the dog, whether both testicles are descended (if male), whether the dentition is correct, whether the dog is gun shy, and get a critique of the individual dog where the judge will critique the overall condition, movement, etc. You would also know that the dog can be in a ring under control around other dogs and not totally flip out while being touched and examined.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Times, purposes and expectations have changed over the years in the show ring. Some think it is better, some think it is worse. ......
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