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Dare we Reshape Creation by Davd Fritsche

Come with me for as few minutes on a journey through the past to a dog show; let’s say some 500 years ago. We arrive in our motorhome, oops, covered wagon, still oops, - OK we walk to the site or ride the horse pulling our dog crates, securely fastened to the cart, and start setting up our canopy at ring side.

Yes, your right, AKC is not that old and dog shows as we know them are a rather recent invention in the history of human sporting events. Basketball predates us, going back at least to the Mayan culture, but their practice of cutting off the heads of the losers seemed to limit willing competition and may have ultimately eliminated the entire culture.
Yes, the dog show is rather recent to human history, although it certainly goes back longer than my personal history or my parents or grand parents. It is a time honored tradition of enjoyment of our dogs and friends and the dogs seem to equally enjoy it.

The breeding of pure bred dogs goes back in history further than our current system of dog shows however.  The ancient Pharaoh Hound and other ancient breeds trace their ancestry well before modern record keeping and breed registries. Dogs have existed probably for as long as we have been on the planet, or longer. What has changed is our relationship to them and our building of activities around them.
Somewhere along the line, people decided that dogs were useful in the hunting-gathering pursuits, so they bred dogs to accommodate that need. Rather ingenious, this leap of intellectual understanding, for it required astute observations about similarities in genetic off spring and the identification of desirable traits and the leap of logic to conclude that breeding certain dogs together would in fact have a beneficial outcome. Yes, this was a landmark understanding and launched human kind into a new world of control of our destiny and the shape of the dogs we partnered with.

Somewhere, way back in history we decided to act Godlike and make creative decisions. From that, we have taken a position in the natural world as being the point of control and being above the created creatures we breed. This simply act of breeding, establishes not only a practice and a sport, but a philosophical position that is not pleasing to everyone on our planet. We are not alone of course. Farmers, ranchers and animal husbandry in general follow the same basic philosophy. We have the right, even the responsibility to play God in our breeding practices and to produce the very best animals that we can. We are, in essence, taking a position that humanity, by virtue of understanding the genetic rewards of selective breeding, should take advantage of that knowledge to improve nature.

The pure bred dog is a result of this philosophy. It is more than a back yard hobby and its accompanying sport of dog trails, conformation shows, agility trials, obedience shows, herding events and the other related activities. It betrays a belief. It speaks of a world view of how we humans view ourselves and the animals we breed. And, it is in contrast to other philosophies that are outraged that we should think of ourselves in this godlike role. It is a contrast that has not been a problem for us for generations, but in the modern resurgence of our pantheistic critics, it is quite a problem now.

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