Breed Standards dictate performance and so does NASCAR! Meet the leaders in racing and learn first-hand how the slightest design change affects form and function!
SAVING AMERICA'S PUREBRED DOGS
Breed Standards Dictate Performance
by CinDee Byer, Dog Clubs Editor and Doberman Fancier
"Gentlemen Start Your Engines"
Breed standards are important to a breed's survival. They are far more than just a picture of a dog. They are as exacting as design in a finely built racecar. The slightest design change can affect the performance. All cars can go fast but putting a snow plow on a race car will change the way it performs. It is the form that dictates the preciseness of function.
There are many in the dog world today who parrot the words "function is more important than the way a dog looks." This is wrong. Form and function cannot be separated. The truth is those who believe it does not matter how a dog looks don't understand the basic mechanics of the dog. They do not truly understand the rules of function as described in breed standards. They do not understand how each part of the standard works in harmony to complete the function of the dog as a whole.
The smallest change in design changes the performance of dog or machine. Recently NASCAR considered a proposed change in the body of NASCAR race cars. The small changes in form were introduced to reduce "down-force," a downwards thrust created by the aerodynamic characteristics of a car. Down-force allows a car to travel faster through a corner. Reducing down-force gives the driver better control of the car.
According to Stan Rabineau, Crew Chief with Garage Pass Shop Tours, Inc. "NASCAR wants to do away with down-force in race cars. To accomplish this, small changes were made to the rear spoiler and splitter extension panel on each car for the July 12, 2015 Kentucky race. According to the bleacher report, these small design changes were a success in reducing down-force in the NASCAR."1
Breed Standards are not OPTIONAL
Options change the dog. Breed standards were designed to generate maximum performance. Standards define the breed's overall difference... all dogs can run. What makes a sight hound excel at running? Is it due to its long legs? If so why does a Greyhound outrun a Great Dane? The reason being it is not a part that creates the fastest dog. It is the dynamics of the standard as a whole.
What compels a sight hound to use sight and not scent to run down prey? It is not only the location of the eyes (form). It is how those eyes work (function) in combination with the whole body that creates a sight hound.
If ears do not affect the way a dog performs why then do the best ground scenting breeds have dropped ears (form)? It is not the way the ears work alone that creates a ground- scenting dog. Ears do not have an olfactory sense. It is the way those ears work together (function) with a perfectly engineered body that forms the best ground-scenting dog. All dogs have scenting abilities. Some dogs are compelled to ground-scent others are compelled to air-scent. Each type of scent work has a different purpose. It is how the parts work together (design) as a whole that creates a dog who will excel at a particular type of scent work. It is the way the nose works with the whole dog that defines whether it be prone to scent air or ground. All dogs can do both but through written standards certain breeds are designed to do one or the other more effectively.
Coat is as important as paint or a "wrap" is to a race car. It effects the performance of a race car. According to Mr. Rabineau... "NASCAR race cars are often "wrapped" in place of painting them. This reduces weight, aero-drag, and also saves time."
The simple act of changing a dog's coat changes the dog's performance. Type, length, shape, texture and color of coat can effect a dog's natural reactions. As an example... long hair over the dog's eyes combined with heavy-coated, dropped ears will make that dog a better "alert dog". This design creates a dog who reacts vocally to sound without pinpointing direction first. Dogs with short coats and erect ears have better directional hearing causing them to move toward the sound. They can be easily trained to react quietly or vocally as needed. A dog with directional hearing makes a better military "point dog". The dog's coat combined with the WHOLE standard can conceal, protect and aid a dog in its intended task.
Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Canines!
As with any machine, form dictates function. Seeing no purpose in parts of a breed standard reveals a lack of breed education. Ignoring the blueprint ignores purpose and changes function. A plane lifts into the air due to its form. A train rides the rails due to its form. A truck hauls heavy loads. A backhoe removes dirt. A farm tractor can plow. A lawn mower cuts grass. A limousine rides passengers in comfort while a race car races. These machines all move people but their form gives each a radically different function.
The untutored individual will machinate over the need to follow breed standards. They are often eager to change that which they do not understand. It is easy for them to ignore parts of the standard to justify their breeding programs. They will breed for what gets them noticed. They will breed for a fad of the day, to be different or simply cater to "what people want". This is destructive thinking which erodes breed excellence.
A breed judge who does not understand the engineering of a standard may put up a dog based on what appeals to them. Some will put up a dog who does not adhere to the breed standard based on a protest or bribe. A registry may encourage the ignoring of breed standards in the breed ring in the name of inclusiveness. This is the opposite of the exclusiveness that is the hallmark of purebred dogs. They may do this to include EVERY dog based on a new revenue. Sadly these reasons to ignore the standard not only destroys the breed but they jeopardize the entire sport of purebred dogs.
The Checkered Flag is Waving
Our purebreds and their standards are NOW more important than ever. They are individual pieces of history. They are a library in motion. They are uniquely beautiful as well as our friends and companions. They are an amazing museum of living art where function is interpreted by standards. Our position as breeders and owners has become more difficult but essential.
We are NOW caretakers of that museum. Without our commitment to protect standards breed history will fade. The museum will close.
The world of purebred dogs is no longer in the era of evolving breeds for jobs. We have entered the era of preserving the breeds whose function once performed those jobs. Without history purebred dogs are just another mixed breed.
Our thanks to NASCAR for the design insight and the inside tour of an iconic American sport!