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I picked this book off the ‘new’ book shelf at my local public library, not grasping that it is from the original Kennel Club in the UK. (It was published in 2017, the 5th edition.) I was expecting to skim through looking mostly at the photos and not so much on breed standards.

The most fascinating part has been the Introductory paragraph for each breed that precedes the breed standards. It’s brought to mind some of the discussions on the PF about breed mixes and what justifies creating a new breed. Some of the KC breeds were nearly lost as the need for their breed skills was eliminated, for example, Irish Wolfhounds were used to protect livestock from wolves until the wolves were driven into extinction by the end of the 18th century. This breed was revived using the few remaining IWHs along with Scottish Deerhounds, the Great Dane, and Tibetan Mastiff.

Other breeds ‘fell into decline’ and were brought back by serious breeders. An example of this is the Field Spaniel, which was brought back using an English Spaniel outcross. Registrations had fallen to fewer than 10 in the 1940s. There is a discussion in the intro about vulnerable native breeds.

There are also examples of more modern breeds that were purposefully created. The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer was recognized by the international canine body FCI in 1983. This breed was developed by crossing the Czech pointer with a German Wirehaired Pointer, and adding Wemaraner blood. The product being a wire-coated dog with silver Weimaraner coloring.

The Jack Russell Terrier history was a surprise to me as it states that the country of development for the JRT is noted as Australia, while the Parson Russell Terrier is from the UK, not formally recognized by the KC until 1990. (I shared my bed with a sweet JRT at a B&B in the Cotswolds when I left the door open one night, and was considering this breed for my last dog until settling on a spoo—I ended up with a JRT in a spoo body.)

I’m about halfway through the book now with the page opened to the Poodle. Reason being that I’m curious about the coat trims and wanted to ask our UK members about their experience. The standard says ‘All traditional trims permissible in the show ring and the dogs judged on equal merit, as long as there is sufficient length to demonstrate colour and quality of coat.’ I wonder how that plays out in the conformation ring in the UK.

My impression of the KC is that they are focused on health of the animals and against exaggerated features. From the Standard: ‘In 2009 all Breed Standards were revised to ensure that the standards were not calling for features that might compromise the health and welfare of dogs. Any such features were removed or moderated — and any exaggeration of breed features is decried in the introductory paragraph. Whilst some Breed Standards underwent quite major changes, many needed no change. What is aimed for in every Breed Standard is breed type allied to soundness and good health.” Also, ‘If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.’

This seems more like the UKC in the US that strives for Standards that don’t detract from health and for well-rounded dogs (e.g. the Total Dog recognition). From the KC, ‘Crufts schedules a Working Class/Field Trial Class in all gundog breeds to endorse its wish to promote ‘fit for function’ dogs.’

This is an interesting read and I recommend it for anyone interested in dog breeds in general, but also for those considering the need for a new breed. Those efforts described in the Standard were accomplished by ‘serious breeders worked [sic] hard.’
 

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This is really interesting. It makes sense that some working breeds fell into decline when there was less need for them. This has happened with heritage livestock breeds as well. https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage

I had no idea that JRT were Australian - they're so popular worldwide!

Does this book say anything specific about standards for breeds like the English bulldog, Pekingese or GSD?
 
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