Donald McCaig Posted December 2, 2011 Report Share Posted December 2, 2011 Dear Doggers, I don't think there's any moral difference bewteen sheepdoggers and dog fanciers although we wear better hats and bigger belt buckles. That said, there are cultural differences which manifest in some – not all - individuals. Sheepdog culture is an amalgam of british shepherding and rodeo culture: hence the lingo and the notion that “real” sheepdogging occurs best on the range with wily range ewes. Sheepdogs are a specialized form of livestock and many/most breeders won’t take back a pup and/or sold dog after 60 days. The words “cute”, “noble”, “handsome” and “typey” are rarely heard. The culture is politically libertarian, rule averse and democratic. Status is earned either by achievements on the trial field or years of dedication to the breed and/or sport. It is a friendly culture but it will take years to join in the Big Hats’ conversations. Often Sheepdoggers are reticent about their non-dog activities. You may never learn another’s occupation, income or marital status. The proof is in the work the handler and his/her dog can achieve. Carping about judging is muted and rare unless the judging (usually British interestingly enough) outrages the community. It is assumed that judges do their best and don’t play favorites although known top handlers probably get the benefit of the doubt. Judges occasionally make mistakes which may help as well as hurt. When point spreads between first and third are so narrow (a) the best dog that day may not have won but ( the winner should be congratulated. Country courtesy is expected. One congratulates the brute who just laid down a great run. One avoids unecessary disagreement. One says “Good morning” to those destined for Hell. The Dog Fancy is an authoritarian relic of the gilded age and deference to great wealth is expected (See Westminster Kennel Club). Knowledge of dogs is not required for status. At the Top Show Dogs banquet I attended (cost, maybe 100K) one of the honorees was the Japanese representative of the consortium that owned the Top Dog.(No dogs were present). While the various AKC performance cultures have their own nuances, they exist within a broader culture where the Dog Savviest individual has less status than someone with non-dog power – be he/she the AKC rep, the Westminster KC Director or the billionaire with a new found avocation. To an outsider, this powerlessness seems to make competent adults act like children and accept that they will be treated like children. If conformation show ringsiders are to be believed, all judges are corrupt and “the fix is in”, the non-Dog Fancy hate Dog Fanciers and are in cahoots with PETA determined to take Fanciers’ dogs away from them. Rules must be written for every possible eventuality and enforced by officials or self appointed volunteers. Dogs must be on leashes unless performing because dogs cannot be trusted and their owners/children are incompetent. Donald McCaig Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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