Breed History

Folklore

Thomas Simpson HallThe esteemed British authority on dogs, David Hancock, condemns breed folklore in the strongest terms. He calls it "romancing the breed".

"In far too many so-called breed histories, the breed-historians themselves have ... elected to record a romantic, however fictitious, past for their favoured breed, rather than carry out any personal research ...

"All valuable research is rooted in the search for the truth. If an over-zealous breed enthusiast makes false claims for the origin of his favoured breed then, when the claim is disproved, the stature of that breed can be diminished.

"To claim a false provenance for any modern breed degrades that breed; to restate a false origin demeans the fanciers of that breed; to record for posterity a false compilation for a breed in defiance of historical fact is simply deceitful."

Both the Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) and the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog (ASTCD) breed fancies have failed their breeds, dismally.

The ASTCD breed fancy has allowed itself to be persuaded into "believing" that the ASTCD and the ACD are two entirely separate breeds. This is incorrect and it didn’t need my research to show that it is incorrect. It seems, however, that a pressure group (or person) was determined to "prove" that the ASTCD and the ACD were unrelated. This group or person has been particularly successful – all the way up to the breed history statement in the FCI (Fédération cynologique internationale) breed standard.

The ACD is in a different position. Although sneered at for more than fifty years, the Dalmatian is still touted as one of the breeds included in the development of the early Cattle Dog – again, all the way up to the breed history statement in the FCI breed standard. It is a fact, that Kaleski introduced the Dalmatian infusion to induce the Cattle Dog to “love” horses and to preserve (or explain) the Cattle Dog’s speckle. The obvious has passed unnoticed. The alleged Dalmatian infusion, and others of Kaleski’s strange assertions, were not published until after the late 1930s. And the obvious question was not asked. Why did Kaleski “remember” all these strange things after the late 1930s, when he didn’t “know” about them in the 1910s?

I asked this question in A Dog Called Blue, in 2003. The answer is to be found in here. Folklore tends to be carved in stone and resistant to assault.