What’s the Biggest Misconception About Your Breed?


What’s the biggest misconception  about your breed?

From the June 2018 Issue of ShowSight. Click To Subscribe. Thank you to everyone who offered opinions on this month’s topic.  The following is a selection of the responses. Want to voice your opinion to the fancy? Follow ShowSight’s Facebook page for the monthly question prompt!

Labrador Retriever. That they are fat.—Anonymous

That it is a wolf! Siberian Husky.—Anonymous

Beagles and that they are stubborn. They are actually extremely cooperative if you know the correct approach in training them. —Terri Giannetti

The misconception that Dandie Dinmont Terriers, because they are acondroplastic, don’t move with good reach and drive. The fact is, a properly balanced, correctly proportioned, Dandie has beautiful reach and drive. Correct structure lends itself to a quiet top line and fluid movement, movement that you can imagine setting a teacup on a Dandie’s back and it would not spill.—Anonymous

Gordon Setters. That they are stupid. They are very intelligent and get bored when repeating lessons learned.

Norwich Terrier. Biggest misconception is that Norwich are difficult to house train and obedience train. Nonsense! Very easy to train for both house breaking and obedience training. Norwich are very food motivated. —Bob Busby


Bedlington Terrier. The biggest misconception regarding Bedlingtons, is that they are “cute little fluffy dogs”. When in reality, they are Terriers, and when aroused, act like a 
Terrier should!

As our standard states; “Aroused, the dog is particularly and alert and full of immense energy and courage”. This breed is a Terrier, and their personality should reflect that. —Diane C Stille

The general public sees the Australian Shepherd as a beautiful, midsize breed and decide they want one. They don’t understand that it is not a breed for everyone or every home.—Anonymous  

Basenjis are not mute. They just don’t bark.—Anonymous

Basenjis are very easy to train—if it’s something they think is fun. A-frame=fun. Heeling and staying=not fun. 

That the Great Pyrenees is a head breed. Expression is important but soundness, ease of movement and proper structure and coat are necessary for the breed to do its job effectively. These are the elements that need to be emphasized.—Anonymous

Dachshunds. That longest and lowest is best!

What size a Cairn should be. —Joan Gardner

Parson Russell Terrier. They are still called Jack Russells and are labeled “hyper”.—Anonymous

Sadly my breed, properly named the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, has been dubbed a cutesy breed as if its a toy breed now. The misconception here is that it isn’t a functional, working breed and not the cute Staffies they are called. There are no judges in this country that truly know the breed. Sad 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The biggest misconception is that they are all going to die from mitral valve disease early. —Anonymous 

Irish Setters. The public thinks they are dumb, goofy and crazy. Absolutely not true. They are highly intelligent, responsible and very loving. —Anonymous

Staffordshire Bull Terriers. That they have locking jaws. —Anonymous

That the Tibetan Mastiff originated from China!

Border Terriers. That they don’t require much grooming! —Anonymous

German Wirehaired Pointers should always greet new people and judges happy, never shying away. —Anonymous

I raise Irish Setters and the biggest misconception is they are hyper and stupid. Yes, the breed is energetic and I would not place a puppy with someone living in an apartment or with someone not willing to commit the time to properly exercising the dog. The breed is also incredibly loyal, quick to learn and eager to please. —Anonymous

Doberman Pinscher. That they are mean, they will turn on their owners. This is a joke. They are the most loving, loyal dogs. If they are raised right, like any breed. —Jackie Spratt

Siberian Husky. That the tail must trail because that is the indication of proper structure. The Siberian Husky’s standard does not address the tail carriage when moving because the mood of the dog, age etc. play into when a tail is up or down. Tail set is an issue not necessarily related to tail carriage. In my experience I have heard judges state, both, I want it up or I want it trailing when moving. Please do not judge correct against correct. Check the tail set and forget about whether it is up or down. —Anonymous

Bearded Collie. The biggest misconception is that they are bouncing idiots, so all sorts of behavior issues are excused, by “oh its a weirdie Beardie.” They should be an intelligent herding dog. —Michele Ritter

My breed is the Rottweiler. The biggest misconception is the notion the head plays a minor role in its breed type. On the contrary, it is significant in its breed type and is the defining trait. —Steve Wolfson

Keeshonden. Two misconceptions that I actually hear from breeders themselves.

1). Keeshonden don’t really shed that much. They mainly blow their coat twice a year.

The truth is they shed all the time. Keeping them groomed cuts down on the shedding but they do shed year round, especially if they are living in the home with families and not out in a kennel. Some do not blow their coats at all.

2). The breed originated in the Netherlands as dogs that road on barges.

The truth is the breed was originally an all-purpose farm dog in Germany. They immigrated to the Netherlands where they were discovered by an English family while they were on holiday in the Netherlands. They immigrated to America via England. The story of the English family’s discovery of the breed is what confuses so many people on the real history of their origin. —Pam Hildebrand 

Chinese Crested. That the hairless have no body hair. 
—Julie Wells

Cocker spaniel. People don’t think they can hunt. 
—Nancy Gallant

Rhodesian Ridgeback. That they are lion killers. 

Keeshond. Judging them on looking like a big Pom with lots of coat and cute head. —Mary Ellen Meyer

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier are not all cuddly sweet dogs. I think we’ve all had a few that would fight like crazy. Ever try to break up a fight amongst four girls? It isn’t fun. I use an air horn now. Works like magic. My GCH. is the instigator; funny how that works!—Anonymous

Border Terrier. Biggest misconception, people think they are hypoallergenic and don’t shed based on incorrect information found on non-breed specific websites. 
—Tracy Van Niel

The biggest misconception about Salukis is that they are show dogs! —Anonymous

Norwich Terrier. Biggest Misconception—Breed standard clearly states: “Distance from top of the withers to the ground and distance from the withers to the base of the tail are approximately equal”. Though by human nature, we prefer a shorter back as it is more pleasing to most of us, this is not correct according to the Breed Standard.

And probably even more significant: “One of the smallest of the Terriers, the ideal height should not exceed 10 inches at the withers.” I think probably in haste people just see the 10 inches and do not notice the preceding words. And 10 inches, therefore, is not the ideal as many think. It is under 10 inches that is ideal. That means over 10 inches is less 
than ideal.

Hope I am not too late for this. I think both of these are paths we are unfortunately ignoring. I will say though, that at our recent National Specialty, there were few over 10 inches at the withers. But, unfortunately, many with shorter backs than called for. This effects movement when backs get so short. And, a dog with the proportions as outlined in the standard looks long in comparison to the many flashy dogs with shorter backs. In my opinion, I fear if we as breeders and exhibitors, and judges too, keep going down that path, it will be hard to retrace our steps. Just my opinion and probably not the most popular one. 🙂 —Anonymous

Samoyed. That they’re all fluff and not a “working” dog. —Anonymous

The Coton De Tulear is thought to be a quiet non-shedding tiny dog. They aren’t. Cotons are a boisterous breed of dog. They will alert to the neighbor getting into his car as well as a leaf blowing the wrong way across your yard. This doesn’t mean they can’t be trained to be a quiet dog, they can but it does take extra effort on the part of the owner to let this breed know when they need to watch out for those squirrels and when the owner has everything under control.

They do shed only mostly inside their double coat that means lots of brushing with a long tooth comb or brush with wooden bristles. The Coton coat when a puppy is silky like a Maltese or Golden Retriever but when this dog is an adult the texture changes to a dry coat that feels like a bag of cotton balls, thus the name Coton.—Anonymous

That Shetland Sheepdogs will herd sheep. Some will herd well enough to pass AKC’s simple herding tests, but most Shelties are afraid of sheep. They don’t do badly on ducks, however. —Sylvia Calderwood 

Shibas are a “primative” breed. While Shibas exhibit many behaviors of feral dogs today the one thing that truly sets them apart is the “Shiba Scream”. This trait alone would completely remove them from the wild dog gene pool. Without wolves in Japan for thousands and thousands of years the Japanese dog breeders must have picked Shibas to breed with this loud expression for some bizarre reason I have yet to uncover. Wolves and wild dogs do not make such loud noises as it is done when stressed and seen by pack members as a noise pray would make. Any wild dog to make this noise would quickly be turned on and killed by other pack members as it is detrimental to the safety of the pack. The trait would be extinguished immediately by pack culling within all wild packs so this trait must be a man made influence since domestication. Since the Shiba is such an old breed and the Shiba Scream is so common among modern Shibas it is very well ingrained in the breed. I am unaware of the other Japanese breeds making this screaming noise. Although the Shibas is still known for his ruthless hunting skills and his occasional ferocious dog on dog aggression he doesn’t make the Shiba scream during hunting or fighting. As a long time breeder of these dogs it always amazes me how much the Shiba can take during a dog fight and how little it takes to make him scream during human/Shiba interactions which make him the slightest bit apprehensive but that gets into his trust issues—a whole nother story. —Cheri Fellinger

My breed is Shetland Sheepdogs. I believe the biggest misconception about this breed is that it’s difficult to judge. Knowledgeable judges have absolutely no difficulty judging it and I believe it’s because they understand the detail for which the standard asks and that detail determines type in a Sheltie.

Over the years, as I’ve watch ‘all-arounders’ judge Shelties, it’s been painfully obvious many of them don’t understand the detail asked for in the standard and those are the judges who usually reward the generic dogs that the successful breeders don’t use in their breeding programs. 

Although it’s brief, the standard describes the balance of body height to length and especially describes the desired head detail. When a judge finds the proper balance of body height to length as well as proper head detail on one dog as opposed to poor body balance and poor head detail on the second dog—those two dogs will easily separate themselves on those points. Many times we see a judge only giving a cursory look at the head—then a pat on the head before putting brief hands on the body and those are the judges who aren’t using heads as input into their judging decisions. I’ve always found that the more input I have on a dog, the easier it is to separate their quality. Of course we must judge the whole dog including structure and movement. But when an important part of a breed is ignored by the judge, that judge isn’t judging the whole dog! We see many different types of Shelties in the ring and many of those different types have poor head detail. Proper head detail can only be found with close examination which can’t be found without using the hands to find it. Because of talented groomers, hands must be used to confirm or deny what the judge is seeing is actually what is there and judging the ‘whole dog’ will make the Sheltie easy to judge. —David Calderwood

Pointer. That its just a “Head and a Tail” breed. Its a hard driving gundog which must have correct structure to do its job. A pointer with just a pretty head mincing around the ring on cat feet will not do its job in the field. —Nancy Tuthill

My breed is the Wirehaired Vizsla and the biggest misconception is that people think they are the same as a Vizsla with a different coat. —Kathy Lormis 

Portuguese Podengo Pequenos. People think it is a Terrier and it is truely a Hound. Proportions are important. Only 20% longer than tall. —Anonymous

Bulldog. That they’re all unhealthy and don’t live very long. No true at all. Breeders have been working hard to breed healthy dogs. There are bulldogs that compete successfully in agility and love a long walk. There’s a FB group called the Oldest Bulldogs in the World, there are many on there 12-18 years old and some even older. —Anonymous

Our Norwich are not lap dogs.—Anonymous

The Azawakh has two main misconceptions. The first misconception is that as it is a Sighthound, therefore it should be stacked like other Sighthounds. The Azawakh is a Sighthound and a livestock and village guardian dog. Its natural stance is actually under the dog or even in the rear, than stacked out like a Whippet or Greyhound. The dog should be higher in the rear, or even, with the withers, in a natural stance.

The second misconception is that this breed should also have the temperament of the Greyhound or Whippet as well and should be inviting to the judge’s touch. It is in fact, in their breed standard that this breed is aloof or reserved with strangers and that backing up or moving slightly away from the stranger is their nature. These cause quite a problem when judges want to see them stacked out and expect them to be stranger friendly and misread aloof or reserved for shy and therefore do not award due to either misconception.

That Westies are good with small children. —Anonymous

The biggest misconception about Norwich Terriers is that their legs are supposed to be short. —Anonymous

That Vizslas do not shed. Yes, they do shed, but it’s very manageable with weekly brushing. —Anonymous

I’ve been owned by Basenjis for almost 30 years, and there are two big misconceptions: “barkless” does not mean “mute;” and short-haired with minimal shedding does not mean “hypoallergenic.” Basenjis do not bark like other breeds, that’s true. However, they make a panoply of sounds that can be lounder, stranger and even more annoying (on occasion!) than a repetitive bark. And while it is true that Basenjis seem to bother some people that have inhalant allergies less than other breeds, they don’t have a hypoallergenic coat like Poodles, Bichons, Portuguese Water Dogs, etc. If a person’s allergy is actually to dog saliva (rather than dander) they’ll be bothered as much by a Basenji as any other breed. —Anonymous

Afghan Hounds have been really dumped on because of “all the grooming!” Not true! Even with hair thats 2" or a foot long, it’s basically keeping them away from cockle burrs and twigs, bathing once a week, removing all tangles by brush when wet and either letting them air dry or blowing them dry. An AH can be kept clipped down or in various creative cuts, like Poodles, making it as difficult or as easy as you want! Of course, for the show ring, long and unclipped is required but that’s no big deal either! —Anonymous

Tibetan Spaniel. That it is a head breed. Also the standard says “aloof with strangers”. —Anonymous

Briards. The biggest misconception is that a Briard is long in body. The Briard is a square breed. “In males the length of the body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, is equal to or slightly more than his height at the withers. The female may be a little longer.” 
—Terry Miller

Afghan Hounds. That they are stupid! In reality, they are highly intelligent and are bred to work independently. They may be pretty but they can be extremely good guard dogs and are notorious thieves!—Anonymous

Bullmastiff. That they are gentle giants. This is a good, stable breed but they were bred to hunt down poachers and protect family. Don’t ever forget that this is a guardian breed, not just a big marshmallow of a dog.—Anonymous

Borzoi and Greyhounds. That people think they’re stupid.

Border Terrier. That they should be shown in a very short coat. A slightly longer coat allows one to determine how the coat lays, if it truly is weatherproof and it’s hardness. In blue and tan coated dogs it allows one to see the correct and required silver or gold ticking which gives the coat its blue cast. The BT standard says they should be simply “tidied up”. —Tim Carey

Pug. It takes a lot of grooming. This breed should be shown naturally. A little clean-up on the rear and britches, that is it!—Anonymous

Anatolian Shepherd Dog. The breed is a good dog park dog. Disaster waiting to happen! The breed’s sole purpose is to protect livestock from predators so dog aggression is a given, yet people take them to dog parks and are surprised when the dogs get into fights. —Anonymous

That Tibetan Mastiffs are or should be aggressive. Just the opposite. They are or should be protective. A huge difference. Aggression is from fear, but protection is from a confident dog who knows the boundaries. —Richard W Eichhorn

Brittany is my breed. One of the biggest misconceptions is gait. The Brittany will overstep his front foot with his rear foot when in the correct gait for the show ring. The Brittany and German Shepards are the only dogs that do this.

The judges are putting up dogs that pitter patter like a toy dog and it makes me crazy! They just don’t know enough about the breed and proper movement. This dog has to have effortless movement to be able to work in the fields for long periods of time. A Terrier gait will wear a Brittany out very quickly. They are putting up dogs with no reach and drive! These dogs cannot perform in the field and that is what they were bred to do—not to look like little Hackney ponys!

Anatolian Shepherd Dog. The biggest misconception I believe judges have is that the dog should appear happy, animated, interested in being shown. A good majority of the Anatolians being shown are true working dogs, as they should be. Their personalities are correct for the breed. Most don’t enjoy being off territory but comply with what is asked. —Jan Fox

Every Westie ever born or will be has or will have skin disease. —Anonymous

Anatolian Shepherd Dog. Biggest misconception is that the breed should be happy to be shown, outgoing and wagging its tail. —Anonymous

Italian Greyhounds. That they are just like the big Greyhounds only smaller. No, they aren’t. The Italian Greyhound has a distinct personality of its own. They can alternate very quickly between being a loving and clingy little pet to wanting to run and chase something.—Anonymous

Beagles. That they’re “loud” and bark/howl all the time. The real truth is they are usually fairly quiet unless on a scent, hunting, or if it’s feeding time! A lot depends on the individual dog.—Anonymous

Norwich Terrier. Easy Keeper with minimal grooming.

That an Anatolian Shepherd should show with animation and a wagging tail. —Anonymous

People don’t believe that Poodles are hunting dogs. 

Tibetan Spaniels are not to be low and long. All too often an exhibit that is of correct proportions is getting ignored to the lower and longer specimen.—Anonymous

Bouvier. That you shouldn’t breed fawn to fawn. Absolute nonsense.—Anonymous 

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