I ran across this interesting article on a Great Dane site but it fits for any breed. Many of the things this person points out has been said for decades, same stories, different times. http://www.greatdanes.net/whyshow.htm
I'm sorry but a lot of that sounds like a copp out to me. JMHO. If you can't hack it in the show ring, then don't breed. I've said this before, but how are things going to change if everyone just gives up? How will poodles of color or partis ever gain the same amount of respect that black and white dogs have, if breeders aren't willing to earn it? Very few things in life are easy, that doesn't make it okay to just quit. If you don't like AKC, try UKC or IABCA. If you don't like conformation, try obiedience, hunting, agility, herding, lurecoursing, weightpulling, etc. W/o competing in something, how do you know your dogs are an asset to the breed? To think you can make that call all on your own seems a bit arrogant. I also have a sneaking suspicion that some of the people that write articles like that just have substandard dogs and are in denial. I also find it troubling when someone who doesn't prove their dogs, thinks they can charge the same amount for puppies as someone who invest time, money and emotions in showing.
Great points HC. I've heard many of these same stories in all three venues and by long time, meaning 30 year veterans of the breed and sport. What I've noticed is that they become tired and it's not fun anymore, thus they give up. Just like when you get tired of working the same old job and seeing the same old people.
Yet there is many whom at any age will pick up the guantlet and run with it so to speak. I'm no spring chicken but I have found a passion (Showing in Confimation) that I can create my work-life balance. We just have to step into their shoes for awhile to understand what drove them to this point so that we don't get there too.
I don't know from what I've seen, read, and heard, she's pretty spot on about the politics of showing in conformation. I really hope that it helps me to develop a thicker skin because I know I'm going to need it. I also know that in order to even be looked at with my dog I'm going to have to avoid a certain large kennel name in Texas because they win all of the time. I'm doing it for the love of the breed and for something to do as a hobby. If I hate it, I'll tell my friend and we'll stop showing. There are always fun things to do with your dogs.
The one thing I do disagree with this woman on is the obedience ring being so different than the conformation ring. A lot of the people that show in conformation will want to title their dogs in both so you get the same people from conformation into obedience. Why do they suddenly turn into helpful kind people because it's a different kind of showing? I'm not naive I know that there are a lot of stuck up, rude, mean people out there in the show world but I'm not going into this for them, I'm doing it because I really like poodles.
I thought the article sounded like sour grapes. For me, showing in Conformation is the canine equivalent of a warmblood keuring. It is an opportunity to have my poodle's structure, movement and temperament independently evaluated by a professional. Sure some judges place faces. Sure you can finish a pig in a wig if you campaign a dog long enough or in the right places. However, I've never seen a really great Poodle not finish. Quality always shines through and there will always be those judges who reward that.
If you think temperament does not come into play, you have not hung around the breed ring long enough. I know at least three bitches who could not finish because they had poor temperament and they were too skittish in the ring. Frankly, I think successful Poodle show dogs have some of the best Poodle temperaments around. They tend to be people oriented, have nerves of steel and they have the patience of a saint.
I show in Obedience and I currently have one in Utility, one getting ready for Open and one I just started last night. Last year I put CDs on two bitches, one of which did not live with me. Obedience is not all wine and roses. People are nice at the Novice A level but that disappears pretty quickly. Mostly people are just cold and dismissive, but I've seen folks be pretty mean. There are people who are competitive and snarky in all dog sports.
I think performance is a fabulous way to demonstrate a Poodle's value as a breeding dog. However, you have to do it in conjunction with titles in the breed ring or as a breeder, you lose type. There is a well known breeder of Poodle performance dogs whose Poodles now look more like Curly Coated retrievers than anything else. hwell: