Since the standard of the Chow Chow has been |
several times and is not identical worldwide
today, it is obvious there are no absolutes.
far, a perfect specimen has never been agreed
and if it ever comes along its only major fault
be that neither you nor I own it. This column is
not intended to suggest what is right and
but hopefully to facilitate the preservation
development of the Chow through intelligent
of type and functionality. As breeders,
or simply fanciers, we have a
to the breed we have chosen to
It appears many
of us easily lend ourselves to
the ability, objectives and perhaps
the mental stability of our judges, especially
decisions do not favor our entry. More often
not, such opinions are greatly influenced by
vision, kennel blindness or ego. The vast
of our judges are not Chow experts,
really try to evaluate our breed objectively,
by the standard but also by the entries
fancy presents as close approximations
perfect specimens. The standard is only a
of their appreciation of our breed; the
is based on their perception of what the
wants by observing what is most
presented in the ring.
Therefore, what is successful in the ring
may become the accepted interpretation
the standard in the immediate future.
ensuing overemphasis on characteristics
desirable at one particular time has
tended to lead to gross exaggeration
type and functionality. We have seen a period of
heads and exceedingly long, soft and silky
followed by a period with great numbers
exaggerated, wrinkly heads, followed by
dogs with short, stubby legs, ski sloping
and disproportionately large,
We also saw a meteoric rise in numbers,
a concurrent proliferation of open pedigrees
wisdom seemed to be that large numbers by
would ensure the chance of obtaining
few good specimens, while continued outcrossing
achieve such a mix-up of the hereditary
of individuals that the occurrence
polygenic defects, such as hip dysplasia,
effectively be eliminated However,
rationales are a sure recipe for the decline of
breed. This subject will be further discussed
a future column.
Fortunately, the popularity of our breed is
declining, so hopefully through a more
approach we can reverse the damage
has resulted from this period of increasing
In order to do this successfully, we have
go back to basics and focus on type and functionality.
Type, as defined in the
May column, is most evident
the dogs that prove to be best suited to perform
particular functions for which they were originally
Note the word "functions," which indicates
correct structure, mental and physical soundness,
and sufficient intelligence to successfully
their tasks are of prime importance
Beauty became a factor
in assessing a dog only
the useful role of the species had become
And even though beauty has become
important, disregard of type will lead to
ultimate loss of the breed.
Alterations to breed type
can only be justified to
its preservation within the constraints of
society. For instance, the original Chows
far from friendly, which was a requirement
their role as guardians in a hostile environment.
was part of the correct type.
This may have been quite
acceptable for the
areas where they came from, but totally
in a suburban environment where 95
of our Chows end up as pets. As breeders,
is our responsibility to root out any sign of
aggression or threatening behavior
people. Such aggression is sometimes
result of nervousness, shyness or cowardice,
generally reflects mental instability. This has
demonstrated to be an inherited defect,
a responsible breeder has no business
the problem by claiming it to be
acquired behavior, breeding with such an
or getting rid of the dog by foisting
on an unsuspecting person. A serious breeder
to accept that culling is an integral part
sound and responsible breeding practices.
To recognize this
defect, the eyes will have it.
eyes indicate the dog is looking to escape.
the mature Chow with a deep-set eye, look for
and a stiff, cautious approach. This type
dog should be avoided when breeding or
is contemplated. A young pup should be
and friendly, while the properly
mature Chow should be self-assured
a calm, steady gaze and normally quite aloof
When evaluating the Chow, we should always
that it is a member of the spitz family
its general appearance should fit that picture.
it inclines toward Mastiff like
or behavior, its type is incorrect.
On the other
hand, the picture of Chow VIII
a dog typical of the spitz family.
though we have really improved the breed
the past century, we should try to maintain
elegance in appearance, the exceedingly
carriage ot head and neck and the
of solidity without cloddiness.
breed should be strong, agile, well muscled,
and full of life. Any suggestion that beauty
obtained at the expense of functionality
an aberration of type.
Chow at its best has an arresting personality.
proud and independent character does not
everybody. Let us try to keep this unique
true to type, the preserve of those who
it for what it is supposed to be,
than what the general public would like
to turn into. Do give it a thought
PO Box 863, Waterdown
Canada LOR 2HO