The Importance of Dog Shows – Breed Preservation
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Meade
Although American Pit Bull Terriers are among the most popular dogs in the United States, the breed faces massive discrimination. Breed Specific Legislation has swept our country and many responsible dog owners and well behaved dogs have suffered because of it. Those of us who have had the pleasure of owning this noble breed know that this discrimination comes from those who have little first-hand knowledge of what a true American Pit Bull Terrier is. It is more important than ever that American Pit Bull Terrier enthusiasts stick together and get involved in showing off our dogs in a positive light.
Since its inception in 1909, the ADBA‘s mission has been the American Pit Bull Terrier. For countless years they have been the voice of the American Pit Bull Terrier when it comes to fighting breed specific legislation and have also been vital to the success that the Endangered Breed Association has seen. While many have tried to imitate the ADBA and capitalize on what they have built, few have been able to sustain anything. This is a testament to the dedication the ADBA has shown to the American Pit Bull Terrier. There are many ways to promote our great breed; one of which happens to be supporting ADBA sanctioned competitive events. Conformation shows, Weight Pulls and Top Dog Events are not only a great way to meet like-minded individuals and compete with your American Pit Bull Terriers, but they also help to support an organization that is constantly fighting for our constitutional rights.
For years, I never saw the benefit of attending conformation shows. I had working dogs and I wanted to work them. The idea of entering them into a ‘beauty contest’ did not interest me in the least. In 2010 my friend Bill Reynolds asked me to meet him at the Tri-State show to catch up and hang out. It was then that I realized that conformation shows weren’t so bad! I was able to do something social, competitive and fun with my dogs while hanging out with many friends from across the country. One of the biggest benefits to competing in shows is that it gives me a reason to practice my keep. The only way to get good at conditioning dogs is to condition a lot of dogs and I’ve found it’s easier to work my dogs when there is an end objective in sight. Traveling to shows also helps your dog’s get used to traveling. Over the years, not only have I been successful with my dogs but I’ve also made several friends across the world. These are doors that the ADBA has opened for me. Like most things in life, you can get as much or as little out of attending dog shows that you want to. It just depends on how much you are willing to put into them. If kept in their proper perspective dog shows can be a wonderful way to spend your weekends.
Before I end, I will say I do not recommend making breeding decisions based solely on winning ribbons at dog shows. That is not what the American Pit Bull Terrier is. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a working breed and it needs to remain one. Breeding decisions need to be made based on working abilities. Conformation is important in a working dog, but as the old saying goes, form follows function and if the dog can’t perform it doesn’t matter how great their conformation is, the dog shouldn’t be bred. Breed preservation is important to me, and nothing will ruin the breed quicker than breeding only for appearance. We’ve all see what that has done to the German Shepard Dog, Neapolitan Mastiff and Doberman Pinscher. Get involved, support the ADBA Clubs, compete with your dogs, have some fun, make some new friends and always represent the American Pit Bull Terrier with class. Andy Seguss – Canine Athletes
The ADBA Heritage American Pit Bull Terrier Conformation Standard was solely based on the working ability and the conformation traits that allowed the breed to perform its historical function at the highest level. As an ADBA Sanctioned Judge, we are not basing our opinions and placements on just conformation parts or pieces but the whole dog. Temperament of the individual dog also plays a large role in our placements. Shy or sharp dogs will not place well, regardless of conformation, as that is not an American Pit Bull Terrier trait.
I agree that it is hard to look at the heart of a dog in the show ring; however, you can see how the dog is socialized and acts out of his own environment. Also, expert breed judges have judged the dogs conformation and deemed that the dog has breed type and the physical soundness to perform strenuous canine activities (i.e. Weight pull, catch dog hunting, Top Dog Events, etc.) without undue injury or lameness. I also must say that when breeding, intense studying of brood stock must be performed, well past the sire and dam to include the grandsire and granddame to select suitably. Therefore, excellent conformation dogs that fit ADBA APBT breed type, in all its facets, are a pretty good place to start. -Hank Greenwood — President, ADBA