MAIS OU SONT LES LHASAS D'ANTAN?
But where are the yester Lhasas?
When the S.C.C (French Kennel Club) changed the C.A.C. (Aptitude Certificate to Championship) into C.A.C.S. (Aptitude Certificate to Standard Conformity ), they took a real wise and courageous stand which no doubt must have delighted every true dog-lover.
This decision probably came after the beginning drift in judgements which favourised brio of presentation to the prejudice of standard conformity. I cannot tell whether, for any of you, this new attribution of the C.A.C.S. allowed preserving the authenticity of most breeds, at any rate, I hope this was so, but, in so far as the breed which I have particularly at heart, is concerned the Lhasa Apso, I fear this was no more than wishful thinking.
Otherwise, how could you understand that in a breed whose ideal size should be 25,5 cm for males (females being sligntly smaller) champions measuring 30 and 32 cm have been crowned whose progeny sometimes happened to be refused confirmation owing to their too large size !
One cannot help wondering how it has been possible with the same standard to judge dogs as dissimilar as the Lhasa Apso as we first knew them and the present <<modern Lhasa>>.
What has become of the breeders who are lucky enough to own dogs of the first and beautiful stock.
None of them are ever, or hardly ever, seen in the rings. In the last French Championship on 6th June 1997 there was not one to be seen.
Breed Pioneers in Europe
The great pity is that they left place for the new ones, for they had not realised what a unique genetic potential they had in hand of priceless value nowadays seeing it has practically disappeared
Those of you who still own dogs of this type dating back to the former Hamilton and Anapurna stocks should have the courage to come back and should not allow today's stars to impress them, for very soon, quite certainly they will be needed.
The S.C.C. ought already to make it compulsary for posters of the standard to be billed up in the rings. This would remind every one that a value of the breed doesn't lie in the dog's grooming and the way in which it is presented but in the respect of the characteristics with which nature has endowed it.
Exhibitions should not be confused with shows (spectacles). Of course, nature must be helped but it must not be distorted? Unfortunately this is what happened with the Lhasa Apso. Every thing has been altered; its morphology, its gaits, its fur, its attitude and even its colours.
Original vs American type
Regarding the morphology, size is not the only problem; the general bearing of the dog is different with a very highfront leg prolonging a long neck. Either they are very heavily boned and their weight is about 9 or 10 kg. or else, they are no substance. In either case their outrageously long-haired fur brides their defects.
Their gait with back paws lifted high up to show the pads is not an Apso feature
As to the fur, cosmetics may do all kinds of things but they can't give back goat hair!
Where are the lovely black ear fringes, where are the black beards and moustaches? They are still to be seen, though very rarely, on certain shaded grey dogs. On the other hand, one sees lots of a pale apricot colour vaguely similar to that of certain american cockers.
How can such a change have occured whithin the last few years?
1 - Lack of rigour with regard to the standard and, in certain countries, non respect of the standard.
2 - Exaggerated selection in view of obtaining a more spectacular type of << show dog >>. This unavoidably leading to degeneration due to the many qualities lost on the way.
3 - Mixing with different breeds in order to obtain the desired type. Whatever the reason and perhaps all three at once, there is no cause for rejoycing.
As to the exhibitions, which ought to be presentations and not spectacles, much would be gained by being somewhat more natural.
Do away with the leashes which stretch the cervical vertebrae almost strangling the dog to make him fly and to give him the so called elegance of a lovely neck; instead use supple leashes which allow the dog to be lively and to walk naturally.
As o the stand position (campé) so much in demand nowadays, I'll leave the floor to Dr LUQUET :`
<< A number of exhibitions presents their dogs 'campés' on their hind quarters whereas the front legs retain their normal balance. When they say that in such a position the dog is 'well placed' they are mistaken in this connection >>
The best way to express our opinion is to quote what Professor BRESSON has written << this leads us to regret the manner (of anglo-saxon origine) in which too many dogs are presented in the rings, their hind legs exaggeratedly pulled backwards, extension rearwards, the top directed upwards, this artificial position being further accentuated by the owner who places one hand under the chin and the other at the bend of the knees; such being a current practice in the American exhibitions. The silhouette thus obtained may be elegant, pleasant to the eye; it is conventional, illogical and makes it impossible to issue a reasonable judgment. It prevents the conformation and the balance of the dog. >>
Mlle duPont and Suzy Solidor at an early 'exhibition'
I also wish to add the following excerpt from one of Professor QUENNEC's articles << for exhibitions, the tenet advocates hand presentation which allows hiding any anatomic defects. The attitude described in resting on the from legs, head up and hind quarters down. This gives the animal plenty of brio but such an attitude is one of aggresive threat often associated with hidden fear. In the U.S.A Humphrey and Warner followed by many other authors, find strong negative correlation between a balanced temperament and vistories in exhibitions >>
I leave to each one of you to meditate on the opinions of the men of science, who knwo, far better than mere dog-lovers what corresponds to animal's morphology. If only we would listen to them !
All of us, such as we are judges, breeders, amateurs, we all share in the responsability of maintaining the species. It is our duty to preserve them, to respect them and not to modify them according to our tastes, our fancies, our vanities and our insterests. They are not our slaves, but living beings to whom we owe protection.
If man with his unconcious, has allowed 2 500 species of animals and plants to disappear within the five last years, in so far as I am concerned this very ancient and beautiful breed, heritage of Tibetan culture must retain every characteristic which tradition has maintained untouched for over a thousand years in its country of origine.
Dolma-the eyes of a true Lhasa Apso
Mais où sont les neiges d' antan ??
But where are the snows of yester years??
Y. de ZAROBE