CH Shiraz California Dreamin'. Photo by Carol Beuchat.

One of the items on my bucket list is to attend a World Show. While I would love to combine a trip to Europe and a dog show, that’s not the draw for me. Although I am properly impressed with the prospect of seeing 20,000 dogs from over 300 breeds under one roof, that’s not why I would endure a 10-hour plane ride for my sport. What intrigues me is how our fellow dog fanciers from Europe interpret our breeds.

Here in the U.S., we have long been beneficiaries of the best that Europe and the world have. Among the foreign-born dogs that have made it to our Top Ten have been the Affenpinscher, GCH CH Banana Joe V Tani Kazari; the German Shepherd Dog, GCH CH Babheim’s Captain Crunch; the Pharaoh Hound, GCH CH Northgate’s As You Like It; the Toy Poodles, GCH CH Smash Jp Moon Walk & CH Smash Jp Win a Victory; the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, CH Rokeena Carte Blanche; and that’s just in the last five years.

All of this requires that we keep an open mind. I own two breeds, an Italian Greyhound & a Cairn Terrier, which look a bit different in Europe than they do here. In the case of the Italian Greyhound, a solid color is required in Europe. My Iggy is a pied, not the most popular pattern, but perfectly acceptable. Being limited to solid colors would bore me silly. Nonetheless, I have seen some striking examples of European breeding, including a Russian-bred IG at Palm Springs this year. A lot of the Cairns I have seen from Europe are substantially larger than what we normally see here. While I have seen many that have excellent conformation, I have my doubts about whether they would fit into burrows readily. Size does have its advantages. It is easier to breed a good-moving large Toy dog than a small one. Some of the Toy dogs in Europe are much larger than here.

Then there’s that whole cropped ears-docked tails-dew claws thing. While I much prefer the way we do things here in the U.S., I do understand the aversion to surgically altering the family pet. I still think there are practical reasons for cropping ears, docking tails and removing dew claws. While dew claws may not be an issue for some long-coated breeds, I wince to think about taking a short-coated gun dog with dew claws into heavy brush.

As the world shrinks further and AKC expands its registry, I expect we will see even more influence from our fellow fanciers around the world. So keep an open mind, but as my Mama says, “Don’t let your brains fall out.” And that’s today’s Back Story.

By the way, you do know that yesterday’s Best in Show at the World Show in Austria, the Swedish Saluki, CH Shiraz California Dreamin’, was born and bred in California, right?