Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Dog Show Joke

I got a call from a major television sports outlet the other day. They were thinking about doing a show about dog shows as a sport.

Dog shows?!  As a SPORT?  I laughed.

Dog shows are not a SPORT. They are a competition, but they are not one in which the dog or the owner is showing any athleticism, nor any expertise, nor much of any skill, unless you consider paying other people to walk your dog around a ring and brush and cut the hair to hide all faults a special skill, in which case I can hardly wait to see the "Wide World of Hair Dressing."

To be clear, at the top of the dog showing game, the owner is often not the breeder, and the person walking the dog around the ring is almost certainly a paid professional handler.

Professional pool might be a sport.  Sure Minnesota Fats was horribly out of shape, and sucked down cigars and whiskey like he was a garbage disposal working on potato peelings, but at least that man had real skills.  The average person, given a pool stick, cannot run a table.  But anyone can buy a dog, anyone can breed a dog, and anyone can walk a dog around a ring without a second's worth of study.  In fact, that is the attraction of dog shows for people who are out of shape, have no skill, and who often have low economic standing, and were never good looking enough to be homecoming queen or cheerleader.

A dog show allows people as common as a turnip top to insinuate themselves into royalty and money.  "Oh yes," the slightly overweight 55-year old school teacher from Matewan tells you, "Chauncey has five champions in his pedigree and he is of a breed created by the Earl of Leicester at his estate at Thrumpton-on-Avon to point peacocks for the Maharaja of Jaipur."

Right.  The whole thing is to laugh.

In fact, the notion that dog showing is a "sport" is such an obvious joke, that it is an annual staple of Stephen Colbert over at The Colbert Report.

Of course, most Americans want nothing to do with the joke that is Westminster and the extended joke that is the American Kennel Club.

As I have noted in the past, while more Americans than ever own dogs, far fewer Americans are embracing the deformed, defective and diseased dogs of the AKC than they did 20 years ago.

AKC registrations have plummeted, and at current rates of membership loss, the AKC will not have a dog to register by 2025.

In fact, today, AKC-registered dogs represent only about 10 percent of all dogs acquired each year in the U.S. -- and that number is going down every day.

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