written and submitted by Bill Garnett, USA
“the DOBERMAN PINSCHER is a square, compact, medium size dog of balanced proportions, noble in its carriage, courageous by nature and SOUND of mind, body and joints”
Recently I was talking to a good friend of mine about . . . what else? Dobermans! He’s been involved in the sport of pure bred dogs in general, including Dobermans, for many years. But more recently he has been showing (owner handling) his Labrador and doing a whale of job. He’s had “Ben” ranked around fourth or fifth, nationally, for the last couple of years. Not to take anything away from Mike’s handling . . . I do have to say “Ben” is a heck of a nice Lab.
Anyway, Mike and I have enjoyed many discussions regarding dogs in general and Dobermans in particular and he knows exactly where I stand regarding soundness and has for years agreed with me in that regard. But the other day he said something to me that really got me to set up and take notice. We were discussing Dobermans after he’d been on the Florida, Louisville and Raleigh circuits and Mike said to me. “You know Bill, the Doberman has lost it’s (type).” To which I said, “No Mike not you . . . not you too!” To which he said. “Now hear me out before you get all bent out of shape. Years ago soundness was very important because people were breeding to the correct concept that a Doberman was a square, compact, medium size dog, of balanced proportions. Type was in abundance and we looked to over all soundness to separate the wheat from the chaff. The only fly in the ointment, or if you will differences of opinion, in those days, was size. What has happened in the last decade, for whatever reason, is that Doberman people have just lost their way. They’ve gotten caught up in the old ‘what wins’ black hole . . . As to the ‘what’s right’ even blacker hole, they have traded proper breed type for the improper (typey) Doberman.” Why? In some ways it’s really not the breeders fault because today’s judges are going with the ‘typey’ Doberman instead of the ‘correct type’ Doberman . . . breeders usually do go with the flow. It’s a helluva lot easier than beating their heads against the wall. The ‘typey’ Doberman is long and low (rectangled), out of balance and lacks compactness. It’s ‘typey’ all right . . . but it’s the wrong (type).” He went on with his oratory such as only Mike can do, saying. “In order to correct this problem we have to buy into the standard and understand fundamental breed type. Fundamental (breed type) is reflected in dogs that are square, compact, medium sized and of balanced proportions.” Mike continued, “The buck stops with the judges. In order to correct this situation, of ‘typey’ winning over correct type, this is what Doberman judges need to do. First look at the class and if not physically, then mentally pull out the dogs of correct breed type . . . square, compact, medium sized and of balanced proportions. Line them up in order of how well they subscribe to the standard (square, compact, medium sized and of balanced proportions) and then go about picking out the soundest of that group.” Out of the mouth of babes!!!
You know what? Mike is right! Yes you heard what you thought you heard. Correct breed type has gone by the wayside. Now, before you get carried away and say that Garnett has finally overheated, don’t forget what I have been preaching for years. By adhering to the standard, proper breed type will manifest itself automatically when we breed . . . square, compact, medium sized dogs of balanced proportions that are noble in their carriage, courageous by their nature and sound of mind, body and joints. What we are going through now are ‘typey’ dogs that are long and low, certainly not square, certainly not of balanced proportions and certainly not compact. Because of those attributes these dogs are simply not sound either in their static or kinetic positions. Their fronts are too straight and too far forward. They flip, flop and pop all over the place. Because of their lack of balance they run up hill. And because of their over-angulated rears they crouch and run on their hocks. I just missed what really was going on because of the total lack of soundness that is being exhibited. Proper breed type has indeed strayed and has been replaced by improper (typey) Dobermans. It’s as simple as that. I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
I’m not going to argue the point with anyone so don’t bother to try and get me to take the bait. You either get it or you don’t. Either you pull your head out of the sand, take off your blinders and stop breeding whatever judges are willing to put up or you suck it up. admit to playing to the judges whims and do the right thing for the future of the breed. Its really that simple. If judges would hang tough, learn and then put up the correct breed type, within four years breeders would be back on the right track and the breed would be back on the high road.
Type vs. Typey…is there a difference? You bet it is. What are you going to do about it? What are we going to do about it. What am I going to do about it? I’ll tell you what I’m going to do about it. As a judge I pledge to recommit myself to being a part of a team that resurrects the correct breed type that’s manifested when one subscribes to breeding to the standard.