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The Importance of AKC Championship Bloodlines

WinnerMany people searching for a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, do not fully understand the importance of AKC championship bloodlines. The usual thinking by a prospective puppy buyer is that they "just want a pet", and not a "show dog".

The term "Show Dog" doesn't really describe what is going on in the world of dog shows. In fact, the term probably creates more confusion than it should.  Did you know that the first exhibition of dogs was in 1859 and was termed a "Breeder Show"? The purpose behind such events was for expert breeders to gather together with their peers and make fateful decisions as to the dogs best suited to carry on the lineage - the blood lines - for posterity. In other words, breeders brought the best dogs they had to be "judged" by other breeders in order to insure the breeding of the best quality of dogs.

Some people think that as long as a certain breed of dog is "registered", that this is all that matters. In fact, there are hundreds of kennels that have arisen in the past few years that are woefully substandard, even in spite of the fact that they are said to have "papers" or are said to be AKC "registered" dogs. This particularly poor state of affairs is being exploited and the result is being foisted upon an unsuspecting public.

The purpose of dog showing was much more apparent in early canine history. It was common knowledge that the main reason for "Breeder Shows"- now referred to as "Dog Shows" - was for the sole purpose of recognizing animals to select the best possible specimens to carry on the bloodline for the entire breed. Today that foresight has matured greatly. Now the means by which AKC championship titles are chosen are not only to select superior conformation, but to insure superior health and correct temperament as well. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback Breeders seeking to adhere to the AKC standard are compelled to show their dogs because this is really the only way that breeding stock can safely be selected. If there were no AKC dog shows, in a few short generations, the  whole foundation of healthy, conformative stock would simply dissappear. This reality should give an appreciation as to the magnitude of influence that showing in AKC sanctioned events has on all breeds.

Not all Champions are AKC Champions


AKC field and conformation events are really the only serious means of assigning championship status to build a solid foundation for a future generation of sound canines. This doesn't apply only to Rhodesian Ridgebacks, but to all breeds. Not all Champions are AKC Champions, which is an important distinction. There are other obscure organizations that attempt to give out show awards. However, reputable breeders of top kennels don't really take them very seriously. AKC Sanctioned events are the most competitive events a dog can attend. If a Ridgeback is an AKC Champion, you can rest assured that he or she earned that title amongst stiff competitors. Therefore,  If you are ever told that any breed of dog is a "Champion", make sure that it is an AKC champion, and not just an " XYZ" champion.

Substandard puppies

There are many elements that determine the quality of a puppy. Health, conformation and temperament should be carefully designed into every breeding program. This is not always the case with the proliferation of puppy mills being promoted on the internet. The odd thing is that knowing whether or not a puppy is properly bred is easy to determine, yet people are still duped into purchasing puppies without knowing whether or not the dog has soundness of health or good conformation.

There are thousands of kennels operating in the United States where dogs are being bred without regard to history of lineage. A well informed breeder knows how a dogs ancestors effect puppies. For example, I know of one breeder that began a breeding program with a male dog that was from a Breeder in Texas. This Texas kennel had epilepsy in its bloodlines. The new breeder wasn't informed about this fact, and began breeding those dogs. 

It may not be the intention of some people to breed poor standards into their kennels, but without the proper guidance and support, it invariably happens. Clearly, any one breeding dogs in ignorance is just as dangerous to the health and vitality of the breed as someone that knowingly produces non-standard pets - Both scenarios endanger the breed.