Gender Equality Debate Spreads to Westminster Dog Show
“People don’t like to campaign females because they don’t like to jeopardize their breeding program”
Our collective personification of animals has done far more harm than good. It began by pretending pets veritable children (they’re not) and now, Reuters is seriously considering a “glass ceiling” for female dogs at the Westminster Dog Show.
Male dogs win the prestigious dog show twice as often as females. The reasons are many, but mainly due to the fact that the peak breeding age of female dogs coincides with peak show time. For good reason, breeders have no interest in sacrificing their breeding program for a shot at a trophy.
Male dogs, however, are not as affected during their peak breeding age, making them better able to compete.
After the German shepherd Rumor won the top prize at last year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, she had her first litter of puppies and retired from competition, like many female show dogs.
By contrast, most top male show dogs can keep competing for years, and it is no coincidence that they also win “Best in Show” in the prestigious annual competition far more often than females, breeders and handlers said as they prepared for this year’s show, which opens Monday, Feb. 12 in New York.
“Now she won’t show again, she’s done,” said Gail Miller Bisher, a spokeswoman for the Westminster Kennel Club, referring to Rumor. “But males can keep going. They can be used as stud and continue showing and keep their coat and keep their shape of body and all that.”
Female dogs, known in pure-bred circles as “bitches,” have snared Best in Show at Westminster 39 times since the award was first given in 1907. Males, known simply as “dogs,” have been victorious 71 times, almost twice as often.
A dog’s peak age for competition is 3 to 5 years old, which also happens to be prime breeding age for females, said Kimberly Calvacca, a professional handler and breeder from Westbury, New York.
The Best in Show winner crowned Tuesday night takes home a trophy. But the real reward is the increased value on the breeding circuit, which is one reason victory can end a female’s competitive career.
“People don’t like to campaign females because they don’t like to jeopardize their breeding program,” said Calvacca. “Males can be used to stud anytime, and still show and breed at the same time.”
As a consequence, females are less likely to compete at Westminster, the second-oldest U.S. sporting event after the Kentucky Derby.
Much like the gender pay gap debate among humans (which we discuss fairly regularly), fewer female show winners is not due to sexism in judging but can be contributed to fewer female dogs being entered into the competition:
…Ahead of this year’s opening day on Monday, there were 1,220 female competitors and 1,699 male challengers enrolled in most categories, including vying to be named top dog on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
…Betty-Anne Stenmark, the sole judge of this year’s Best in Show competition at Westminster, said appearance was important when it comes to picking a world champion. But she denied that the cards are stacked in favor of males.
Stenmark said each sex has a “50-50 chance” of winning and judging can be highly subjective, depending on a judge’s experience.
In the end, a male Best in Show winner can bring a bigger payoff than a female because a male can breed many times, and even have its sperm frozen, while females can produce only so many litters and puppies, said WKC’s Bisher.
There is no glass ceiling to be shattered at Westminster, there are biological considerations that make entering a male dog into the competition more practical for many.
Can we all agree to stop discussing animals as though they’re human? Please?
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“Biological considerations” between male and females!? How sexist! [The prior is meant in jest.]
Equal in rights, complementary in nature.
Another example of radical Leninist-Maoists imposing their oppressive cultural totalitarianism on society at large.
My puss in boots, without a hat, sleeping on a mat, is taking his nature-ordained nap. He’s not paying attention.
I’m so sick to death of this sort of thing.
Good grief! I guess it ought to have been expected that the whole gender equality bit would sooner or later “go to the dogs”!
This is one of the dumbest “gender equality” issues I’ve ever heard about! As someone who tried to show my German Shepherd back in the 70’s, I’ve had a little bit of experience being around dog show people. Among other things, you cannot show a “bitch” who is either in heat or about to come into heat, so that is always a consideration- and you don’t get your registration fee back if you have to withdraw, etc. etc. ad nauseam.
Offhand, I’d say it’s official- the “news” media and the Left (essentially the same thing) have gone INSANE!
That is incorrect, you can show a bitch in season or even pregnant if you want to. There are no rules against it. Some people prefer not to because frequently bitches are not at their best during season or when pregnant. In the conformation ring males are shown separate from females as with many sports. Some professional handlers prefer not to show a bitch during season because they are also showing other dogs and it would be an issue of control and liability. I have shown GD since I was a child and have championed bitches but prefer not to show them in season either in the conformation and obedience ring.
Oh come on.
We all know why female dogs don’t win as many shows.
They can be real bitches.
Are they going to wear pussy hats this year?
Join the labor force or stay at home and labor babies. Seems like canine females are thrust into the same misogynistic conundrum as their human counterparts. “Destroy the patriarchy!”
Come on, just talking about working moms!