Originally Posted by oberonandbella View Post
This is an example of where I feel like we may or may not be missing a boat. In the horse world, dams aren't necessarily "required" to be titled (and I use that in quotes because I know there's no literal requirement) to be considered worthy of breeding. There are inspections, which I think is a wise way to do it - it's not the whole way to a performance record. I'd assume the WAE/WAC would be a good measure for Dobermans (or any other dog, modified for the breed of course).
The WAE/WAC/ATT/TT/etc. are basically useless the way folks treat them, training to the specific challenges or taking them over and over again until their animals barely skate through a passing score. The problem with these things is that they're far from rigorous and a lot of breeders aren't using them to identify potential faults in their stock, but more as a "look at me, I'm REPUTABLE" test that they may feel an obligation to pass to prove their stock is worthy.
I disagree with the perceived need for titling outright. The goal of breeders should be to understand what the structure of their animals should be, have the ability to objectively evaluate their stock, and check their pride & solicit an objective opinion if they're not certain about their ability to do both of those things competently. Going before judges at a couple of conformation shows should be plenty adequate, even in the realm of certified, 3rd-party opinions that an animal conforms to the standard. When folks continue with a competitive attitude, it suddenly becomes extremely subjective as to which animals (who conform to the standard) are the best at conforming to the standard, and that's where the really stupid things start happening.
Working titles are pretty much a pass/fail, as they should be.
Ok, so if BYB actually provide a service (if aimless), perhaps then the aim should be to help the BYB learn about the dogs themselves, and what constitutes a quality animal. So, instead of condemning them, as we are wont to do, perhaps we should provide more educational resources. I'm just trying to come up with solutions. I think it's irrational for us to say that the BYB doesn't care about their dogs. The general BYB just isn't well educated enough to know what to breed and what not to breed. Millers are a different problem, generally related to care.
Very thought-provoking in general.
As I said in the latest longevity thread, I really don't like pejorative or complimentary labels which are inherently loaded with value judgements such as "BYB" or "Reputable". They're too subjective, conjure mental images, and don't really describe what is right or wrong with what a breeder is doing.
Don't get me wrong, though, if we're talking about casual breeders or those looking to make a quick buck, there can be a whole lot they're doing wrong, which has potential to lead to heartache. Most do pretty well by the breed when they have a good head on their shoulders, aren't looking for a quick buck, and treat their animals as members of the family. Maybe they don't know about health testing, but a little education probably would help them at least identify the most important things to test for, when in the animal's lifecycle the tests are most meaningful, and what to do with the information the tests provide.
Those who put in a lot of effort to title and do health testing are definitely taking the endeavor more seriously, but simply calling everyone in that group "reputable" doesn't really help matters, when they're the source of the most damaging breeding practices of incestuous pairings (producing animals with elevated COI) and overuse of popular sires (PSS) that just choke the life out of the gene pool. Of course they should go crazy with health testing, because even if one particular breeder doesn't go crazy with the linebreeding, the lines they're using usually have history of it.
This is the main difference I've had difficulty adjusting to between the equestrian community and the dog fancy. It's my perception that most horse breeders have more of a self-reliant competence when it comes to matters relating to livestock care & animal husbandry.
The barrier to entry is much higher to get involved in the equestrian community, which probably weeds-out many of the folks who are only looking for a quick buck because nothing involving horses is particularly easy to profit from. It also helps that it's often a part of that (semi-) rural agriculture lifestyle. There's peer support and education from childhood through organizations like 4-H, Granges, Co-ops, County Fair participation, even just osmosis by browsing the Nasco catalog or wandering through the local farm & ranch store and chatting with knowledgeable folks there.
There's probably just not as much need for 3rd-party validation through titling, they're generally supportive of each other, and there generally just isn't widespread misuse of risky breeding practices, with the exception of halter showing and racing segments, and color breeds. It's just generally not as much of a frustrating minefield of maladies.