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Creators of Living Art – The Art of Breeding Dogs

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114 – July 2019

By Sandy Weaver

Have you been to an art museum recently? Think back to what you saw – works of art in varying sizes, styles, shapes, and media. A close perusal of the program revealed information about some of the artists, while other artists in the program weren’t recognized at all. Walking around, a patron with a discerning eye could see the work of true artists, whether they were listed in the program or not.

Even when the artist’s name was well-known, not every creation on display was that artist’s best work. Some was a step along the path to true greatness, and some of the artwork on display was just the creation of a flash-in-the-pan artist – trendy today, but probably not going to stand the test of time.

Now, move the idea of an art museum to a slightly different venue – the local dog show. The patron with a good understanding of what they were seeing at this display recognized the work of four different types of artists. The ones in the program were easy to appreciate, though their artistry was more subtle than that found in many museums. All these four groups of artists work in wet media – blood, sweat, tears, and DNA.

Listed in the program (aka the catalog) the breeders, and sometimes the handlers, get published recognition alongside the names of their artwork. The other two types of artists – the groomers and the judges – are less often recognized for their contribution to the art of purebred dogs, though their influence can be clearly seen.

Many breeders are flash-in-the-pan artists. They may have a bit of success now and then, though they are not known for producing quality over time–litter after litter, year after year, for decades. Only a handful of breeders in each breed are true masters. When you find that kind of high-quality breeder, whether or not you appreciate their particular style, remember to appreciate their dedication to their art and their breed. Each time one of their works of art is used as the medium for more works of art, that breed is forever shaped and changed. Patrons who sit ringside at very large shows or national specialties, catalog open on their laps, are the ones most likely to spot the breeders who are true artists. As they see a dog that catches their eye, they check the catalog for sire and dam information. It’s easy to spot the kennels that consistently produce quality animals. Sure, a kennel visit is the best way to really evaluate the artistry of a breeder. Second best is careful study of the living art on display in the ring.

Click here to read the complete article
114 – July 2019

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