This is a song about how the American Kennel Club should be regulating dog breeding if they were genuinely concerned, as they profess ot be concerned, with demonstrating and preserving the "usefulness of the purebred dog to man." (Dare we hope that by "man" they would include "woman" ? It is only in recent years that AKC has accepted women delegates as representatives of their clubs.)

The song was written in 1990 or earlier. so there have been more than a few changes in the veterinary technology and knowledge and in the variety of training tests and working trial tests available. And as discussed below, there have been additions to the lists of known heritable diseases and defects with serious impact on quality of life for dog and owner ocurring in purebred breeds.

If I were writing this song today (in 2003) , I would try to include some reference to the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test, which is a useful test of basic obedience and temperament. It is a totally on-leash test, and any person who cannot train their dog to pass it should not own a dog, and any dog who cannot be trained to pass it certainly should not be bred from. The temperament test that I refer to in the stanza on temperament is the ATTS Temperament Test (TT), which at that time was a very basic test that would probably flunk really spooky dogs, but that would also pass really torpid "zombie" dogs (indeed I have seen some of these pass). Judging standards may well have changed since then. Ideally for basic obedience and temperament , I'd like to have a dog pass the TT, the CGC, and probably also the VB (Traffic sure companion dog) test from the Schutzhundt program; the last named includes some off leash obedience.

On health issues, for any breed some new ones have probably come to light in the past ten years. For the Bouvier, two previously little known conditions, Sub Aortic Stenosis (a heart defect which can cause sudden death at a young age) and Glaucoma (which causes sudden painful loss of vision) have come to light as serious concerns. For some conditions there are biochemical tests that can reveal carriers. For most single gene conditions , DNA technology offers hope that during the next ten years we will have carrier tests. When carrier tests are available , it becomes possible to avoid producing afflicted puppies by avoiding matings in which both parents carry the same delecterious gene, yet otherwise valuable dogs can still be bred safely -- ie one need not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Also during the past few years the concept of "open registries" for health problems has been promulgated. If enough breeders in any breed will "go public" by sharing their knowledge of defects thru such open registries, we can do a lot to reduce risk of afflicted puppies in our matings even without specific carrier tests. So the stanza on genetic health is badly out of date, but the call to arms to make genetic health a high priority remains as loud or louder than ever.

The line about "living in Germany" was written long before the current German breed bans and breed restrictive laws were an issue. I do not in any way mean to condone such an approach, which I consider totally wrong. My line referred to the system in Germany that the breed clubs have a great deal of control over breeding standards and can act to prevent the poorest sorts of irresponsible breedings. In Germany, for at least some breeds, to be eligible for breeding the dog must be inspected and publically critiqued as to its physical conformation, must be certified clear for certain health problems (notably hip dysplasia), and in some breeds must pass a working test.

Finally for those of you who might have wondered if the line "and when I am the ruler they'll be out of luck !" might be a censored or expurgated version, well yes you are right. There is an alternative line and I think you can guess what it is !!


MIDI music



(to the tune of "The Ruler of the Queen's Navee", Gilbert & Sullivan)

by Pam Green , © 1990


If I were Ruler of the A.K.C.
I'd make the System what it ought to be :
I'd institute complete reforms
And for every breed re-emphasize its working norms !
       If with my Principles you do agree,
       Just elect me as the Ruler of the A.K.C.!

Each breed was created to perform some job,
Not just to please the eye of some esthetic snob .
Each job imposes its requirement
For health, for structure, and for temperment.
       So ev'ry breeder must be made to ask,
       "Can I prove my dogs are able to perform their task?"</p>

To be a worthy member of its human pack,
A pet dog must do more than merely snooze and snack.:
A healthy body and a healthy mind
To be the loving servitor of Humankind !
       So if you're breeding for Humanity,
       Just elect me as the Ruler of the A.K.C. !

To save our breeds from destruction by fools,
I hereby promulgate our Breeding Rules :
Before a dog or bitch may propagate,
Its Conformation must rate "Adequate",
In Obediance it must earn a C.D.,
And in Working Trials must prove its capability !

Thus if you wish to breed your Komodor,
She must protect the flock from every predator.
Before your Scotty bitch may give birth,
She must dig up varmits from the bowels of the earth.
       Before your Chesapeake may concieve,
       For the hunter's gun she must retrieve.

Thus if you wish to breed your Bouvier,
Olfactory games she must adore to play,
By instinct she must fetch the cows your way,
And when a mugger threatens, she snarls, "make my day!"
       She's calm, self-confident, but seldom rude,
       And this should be her customary attitude !

Those hereditary ailments that afflict each breed
From its garden of genetics we must surely weed :
So the Veterinary Board must certify
To the soundness of the hips and heart and ear and eye.
       You'll think you're living in Germany
       When I become the Ruler of the A.K.C. !

The spooky dog we must all despise,
For he'll flee or bite in panic at the least surprise:
So the Temperment Test we hereby decree
Must prove at least a minimum stability !
       I'll confer this blessing on Society,
       When I become the Ruler of the A.K.C. !

All breeders proclaim their noble intent
"To breed by the standard and for betterment!"
But many are breeding for their ego's pride,
Taking glory in a flowing coat and flowing stride.
       The worst of them are breeding just to make a buck
       And when I am the Ruler, they'll be out of luck !  *

       I'll impose a Beneficial Tyrany
       When I become the Ruler of the A.K.C. !


( * : yes there is an alternative line )




site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 4/12/03 revised ?/?/03
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