Does a Championship Prove Worthiness for Breeding?

Question: Don’t most of us who breed use completion of a championship as a credential to signify worthiness to be bred?

No, hell no, and abso-damn-lutely not.

Letters on the page are just letters on the page and have no relationship to worthiness for breeding. I know way too many dogs shown to their Championship (CH) who have a disqualifying fault for MY bitches, things that can’t be evaluated in the breed ring. And besides, put almost any mediocre dog out with a good handler and frequent small shows where you can stack the count, and Voila, you have letters on a page. Whoopee.

They don’t tell you anything about pedigree, genotype, temperament, health, longevity, working ability or suitability for the dog in your living room — those are the things that signify worthiness to be bred.

Some think a CH is necessary for breeding. I don’t. The reasons to go after the CH are multiple, and have very little to do with breeding decisions.

You can use your eyes and hands to evaluate type (which is what the CH does). You can’t use your eyes or hands to evaluate working ability, health, longevity, etc. CH is the LAST thing I consider for a breeding, and only if I couldn’t get my hands on the dog personally. But I had my hands on a BIS Malamute who has the worst shoulder set I’ve ever seen in a Malamute, his pretty fluffy coat hid the fault, but in SLEDDING the fault would have side lined a team before the end of the run, much less the season. Best in Show and unsuitable for work? That was a harsh lesson for me because I thought only suitable dogs would be CH, much less win groups, or BIS. That’s not the case.

And especially in Malamutes, the JOB is the most important consideration — the malamute AKC standard says IMPORTANT.

“IMPORTANT: In judging Malamutes, their function as a sledge dog for heavy freighting in the Arctic must be given consideration above all else.”

So, how do you get around a Best-in-Show Malamute who can’t function as a sledge dog? Because the show ring is NOT the place to evaluate their function as a sledge dog for heavy freighting. You can’t evaluate stamina, muscle recovery, common sense, determination, calmness under stress, the list goes on. You can evaluate the details of the dog, but details don’t pull a sledge.

And does their FUNCTION have anything to do with a high-set ears or low-set ears? Nope. Does their FUNCTION have anything to do with a dark or light eyes? Nope. Does their FUNCTION have anything to do with coat color or pattern? Nope. But these are things that help an AKC judge make decisions about “worthiness.”

When you have working dogs and you focus on details like ear set or head shape (which I have a VERY distinct preference for <G>), or pattern or eye color, you fall into the AKC trap. And you miss the forest for the trees.

I show my working dogs, I work my show dogs. But the show ring is NOT the best place for an evaluation of the worthiness for breeding. It’s the best evaluation of the worthiness of a Championship, that’s it’s wonderful function and we should respect the limits of that function.

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