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[PyrNet-L] Breeding - American vs French

Hi Judith,

You bring up some very interesting (and somewhat sore) points about
size in our "giant" breed. The first Pyr I ever saw was immense,
and it was through reading the AKC Breed Standard that I could
determine that this was indeed the dog I saw in the French Alps.

I don't know if I would be that certain today.

Thirty years ago we had large and smaller Pyrs, very kennel specific.
My husband and I liked the "larger" variety, and in fact the
first brood bitch we purchased weighed in at 130 lb. And as sound
as a dollar. Balanced forward and aft, and excellent angulation.
Her immense size came from the fact that she was one VERY big
girl, larger than most males you will see in the ring today.
The people who bred her knew what they wanted in the breed, and
we agreed with them.

Unfortunately when "size" only means "taller" you can have dogs
that have inadequate front angulation. By opening up the angle
at the shoulder you will get a taller dog. Take dividers, and
open them up to 90 degrees, and measure the distance between the
points. Now open it up to 125 degrees, and measure. This distance
corresponds to the front angulation of the dog, and the larger
angle will make the dog "taller." Unfortunately it will also make
the "taller" dog less sound than the "smaller" dog of the same
actual size. Its a concept much easier explained using graphics.

Anyway, some people who do not understand this concept have
equated all "large dogs" with the word unsound. Even seemingly
intelligent people have told me that a large Pyr cannot be
sound. But then how can you explain that a Thoroughbred race
horse can be sound? Or a Clydesdale. Do they have to be Shetland
pony size to be sound?

But I think that this is a rationalization. In my ever jaded way
of looking at things, I think the people who bred the smaller
Pyrs were better at politics and had better staying power than
the people who bred the larger Pyrs. 

Which brings me to the point about the GPCofA. This club holds
the key to our breed. Its called the "Breed Standard." I remember
the opening phrase of the old standard "A dog of immense size...."
I don't believe that phrase is in our current standard. The words
of the Breed standard are the words of the parent club.

At the time of the last "revision" of the standard, my life changed
and I became inactive in Pyrs and in the GPCofA. I was, quite
naturally, a proponent of the size disqualification. This did not
happen. When I became active in dogs years later, the dogs were 
universally smaller, and this is the first discussion I have heard
regarding this matter. I feel very strongly about this, but don't
feel that, even though I am a member of the GPCofA, I have much 
say in this. I feel like I missed my opportunity by not being around
during the revision. So I just sit quietly and say nothing. Usually.

My husband, on the other hand, will be happy to suggest that we
divide the breed - like Poodles and Beagles - under and over a
certain size. Then those who want a Pyrenees can have one, but
those who want a Great Pyrenees will have the opportunity to
have what they want as well ;-).

Thanks for the opportunity to vent on this very old but still
very sensitive issue. 
 Carol Brescher Boyle                Improving the health of our dogs,
 carol@NaturalDogFood.com                          one meal at a time.

 Need a wholesome dog-friendly recipe? See the "Recipe of the month"
        at the our web-site http://www.naturaldogfood.com