Saturday, January 7, 2012

* Dog Due

The development of breed standards in the late nineteenth century was an explicit attempt to give dog show judges a basis for awarding places. It was an implicit attempt to create dog fancy as a sort of connoisseurship in which extremely fine points bore great significance to those in the know. There is of course a certain phoniness to any sort of connoisseurship, whether it is in wine tasting or the cultivated admiration of fine painting, but the highly arbitrary nature of dog breed standards  ---  and their tendency to change every few years --- carried with it the frank implication that this was phonier, or at least more arbitrary, than most.

The Truth About Dogs


Stephen Budiansky

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