Vickie on Status of the Lhasa Apso

With the intention of getting feedback from you guys, with permission I share the following exchange from the apsobreeders list. Dr. Cathy Marley’s response to Vickie’s original post is followed by more from Vickie:
In discussing the status of the Skye Terrier — which is classified as a rare and vulnerable breed in its native land (only 37 or so were registered in 2007 in the UK), the following comment was made …
It’s always sad to see a breed nearing extinction. But as much as some show breeders would hate to accept it, without having strong popularity as a pet most breeds would follow a similar route to oblivion. Once a breed gets restricted into a ’show only’ dog, their years are numbered. Keeping a breed in the public eye and in pet-family homes is important.

With the slow decline in the show fancy as a whole, there just isn’t enough new blood (human-wise) coming in to support a lot of breeds kept purely for the show fancy.

This is why our club has to get off it’s traditional duff and think about something other than our specialties and show records and start encouraging pet people to become involved with the breed.  I think the lists have done some of this – we do have some pet owners who have become quite active in promoting the breed, but the club has to do more.  Our website needs to offer more articles and activities of interest to pet apso owners, and our national and regional specialty shows need to offer activities for pet owners and their dogs. 

I completely agree, Cathy … and I would like to point out that everyone who is a member is a part of the National Club.  I keep hearing, “National needs to do something.”  Well, guess what folks, if you’re a member, you’re part of “National.”  The time has come that every breeder, owner, fancier needs to step up to the plate and become involved if the breed is to thrive from this point forward. 
Pet owners … please get involved with your local clubs.  We can always use people to help put on pet
expos and pet fairs.  One doesn’t have to show or produce puppies to be involved with the breed! 
If one is a “breeder” by any definition of the term, they owe it to the breed and to the puppies’ future owners to have done their research and fully acquainted themselves with the standard and health issues *before* breeding (including the basics of whelping and having an experienced mentor available).  I participated in a poll on a rather large list asking what dogs they would like to own in the future.  When queried as to why the Apso wasn’t on their lists, the majority responded it was because of their past experience with nasty, ill-tempered Apsos from the 70s and 80s and the coat care issues.  These types of dogs are still being produced to the breed’s detriment.
The feasibility of importing/registering dogs from Tibet/Bhutan/Nepal is being explored for genetic diversity. Exactly who is going to be left to continue this work in 20 years given the average age of the fancy and the lack of new owners/exhibitors/fanciers??
Will the sturdy little mountain dog we hold so dear fade into antiquity … found only as a photo in some historical tome? 
Vickie, et al

One Comment on “Vickie on Status of the Lhasa Apso”

  1. lhasalhady says:

    This entry has been on my mind. Our Apso community, right here on this blogsite, is an eclectic collection of pet people, show people and lots of combinations in between. Something that wasn’t in this entry is that according to AKC’s latest statistics, the Lhasa Apso is the fastest declining breed in registration numbers. 80%! Yes, 80%!! Ergo, Vickie’s original discussion on another list.

    For months Julie has been insisting it’s not the economy, but rather lack of interest in our breed, that led to not having all our puppies spoken for before they were old enough to leave their mother. Now I believe she’s right; it’s not just the economy.

    Vickie makes a number of excellent points and, frankly, I’m disappointed the thread didn’t spark interest and feedback. Far more often than not, I’ve got something to say about a subject, but will let an entry sit for a bit, waiting to see what others have to say.

    We are in an ever-changing technological society. Wondering if my outreach via the blogsite hasn’t been adequate, I’m constantly watching how the younger generations (:::sigh::: that means there’s more than one generation between me and young people) communicate. Would knowing the latest and greatest communication methods help enlist young fanciers?

    This past week I had two opportunities to inquire about doggie social get-togethers. I groom Jackie’s two standard poodles every other week. Months ago, she mentioned a poodle playgroup. It isn’t affiliated with any breed club. I asked how the poodle playgroup met up. Guess what? See. This is what I mean about our technological society!

    Then, at Rally class, talking with Tibetan Terrier Mollee’s owner Dwayne, he mentioned an annual playday for the TTs. This is hosted through the local TT club, held at a member’s home with a 4 1/2 acre fenced yard. They had to rotate a couple of alpha males, but otherwise the dogs all played together. There was a wading pool with some kind of frozen treats for the dogs. And on and on. It sounded fun! It’s something everyone might enjoy, no matter where you’re at on the pet people-show people curve. I mentioned exploring ways to build interest in the Lhasa Apso. Ya know what this man who appears to be a retiree said? Take video and post it on YouTube!

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