Why Can’t Fixed Dogs Be Shown?

Altered dogs can be shown in several American Kennel Club classes.

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Q. Why can’t spayed or neutered dogs be exhibited for championship points in the AKC show ring?

A. Because the original purpose of dog shows was to evaluate breeding stock, one wonders what purpose would be served by allowing dogs that cannot reproduce and “breed on” to be shown and gain their championship titles. Altered animals may be shown in the Veterans class (generally non-competitive) as well as the Brood Bitch and Stud Dog classes (also non-competitive), where the judge assesses how successfully sires and dams have stamped their quality and type on their offspring.

I would have no issue with parallel classes being offered for altered puppies and adults. My concern with showing altered dogs in the same classes as intact dogs is that it creates an uneven playing field.

When bitches are spayed, their coat changes texture – a silky coat becomes wooly, for example – and hair grows in appropriate places. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Afghan Hounds, for instance, start sprouting facial hair and Afghans have their saddles (the short, slick, darker-colored hair on their backs) fuzz in. If owners don’t want their dogs looking like a bush in the ring, they typically strip out the facial fuzz and grown-in saddles, trim an outline on their dogs, and use whatever tools necessary to achieve a more tailored look.

However, the Cavalier and Afghan breed standards take a strong stand against stripping and trimming. It wouldn’t be fair to have some exhibitors showing their dogs in adherence to the standard and others, in the same class, showing their altered dogs who have been groomed in violation of the standard.

How could a judge who uses a single breed standard to evaluate his entry penalize the intact dogs for being trimmed while overlooking the flagrant trimming of the altered dogs?


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Robin   Supply, North Carolina

12/9/2015 12:43:55 PM

My Champion Alaskan Malamute developed pyometra & to save her life she had to be spayed. Why should she be cheated out of competing when she loves it?

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Allyssa   Brookville, Ohio

5/26/2015 10:42:34 AM

I agree my Purebred AKC registered dog is gorgeous and would make a fantastic show dog, however I can't because I chose to have her spayed because any vet would tell you that it is best to have a dog spayed because if not health issues can occur? I think that rule is stupid.

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Bull   Florida, FL

12/18/2011 10:50:17 AM

I agree with the article... To an extent. If dog shows were started and were still used to show off breeding stock then yes, no fixed dogs. It would not make sense to show a dog that cannot breed in a format designed to show dogs that can... Just common sense right there. BUT dog shows are NOT just about showing off breeding stock anymore. In fact, dog shows NOW also function as entertainment for the handlers, spectators, animal lovers, etc... Hopefully also entertaining and fun for the animals themselves. I was just at the Eukanuba 2011 in Orlando, FL... They had an agility show with an announcer and music pumping up the crowd. Even taking younger spectators out of the crowd to participate in the antics... This was going on right at the entrance into the showing area... If that was not an attempt at entertainment then I do not know what is. PS - I wonder if the dogs doing the agility show were fixed or if the service dogs they brought out were also fixed? I'm just saying, don't be so uptight about an old standard definition while promoting in a different way.

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Rachel Franc   *********, WI

12/13/2011 2:37:53 PM

I HATE this "rule"! My Yorkie is purebred, and has AMAZING comformation! Spayed/Neutered dogs should be able to be shown, they are BETTER than intact dogs! They can't produce, so they won't add to the problem of over population!

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