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undesirable no. 1: harry potter, dogs and breed standards

04 October 2011

undesirable no. 1? harry potter or a great dane?

What would life be without a little subjectivity?

Undesirable No. 1: harry potter and dogs

have you seen this dog? she falls short of the ministry of magic's (aka the american kennel club) great dane breed standard

Consider the following:

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter

One family’s (The Dursleys) nephew is another’s (The Weasleys) adoptive son

One family’s Great Dane puppy is a pedantic organization’s definition of undesirable

The Boy and Puppy Who Lived

If Harry Potter is Undesirable No. 1 in the wizarding world of JK Rowling’s imagination, our Great Dane puppy Luna is Undesirable No. 1 in our world.

Not by choice, of course. Rather, it is due to the officious know-it-alls at the American Kennel Club (AKC) who created the imperious AKC Great Dane breed standard. I’ll refer henceforth to the AKC in this commentary as the Pedantics Who Shall Not Be Named (PWSNN).

The organization is the last word in breed standards. It draws a line in the sand between those welcomed at dog shows, and those on the outside looking in with their wet noses pressed forlornly against the glass. PWSNN’s Great Dane breed standard states the following:

“Fawn–The color shall be yellow gold with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears and tail tip. The deep yellow gold must always be given the preference. White markings at the chest and toes, black-fronted dirty colored fawns are not desirable.”

Dark Chested and Proud

Luna is proudly dirty-chested. She’s as dirty chested as a Welsh coal miner. She also sports a white diamond stamped like a Medal of Honor in the middle of those dark hairs. That’s two strikes against her as far as the breed standard is concerned.

Pontiac Aztek car

holy ugly batman. it's the pontiac aztek, thing 1 in the automotive world

In fact, the colorings are as noticeable as Harry’s lightening bolt forehead scar. She meets all of the other color requirements. She also meets most of the other size and body shape thresholds.

Beauty and other subjective matters in life are not fixed or subject to binary determination. Remember that “…in the eye of the beholder” wisdom you probably heard multiple times from your parents – even if it wasn’t about you? It could have been about the Pontiac Aztek or a Subaru Baja that you thought was beautiful and turned out to be hideous.

Subaru Baja car

subaru baja: when evil lurked in the minds of subaru’s styling department

(Ed Note: these vehicles truly are hideous. Truly!).

In our case, the situation is reversed. While the PWSNN has decreed that Luna is not desirable, she’s very desirable to us. We think our Great Dane puppy is a beautiful example of the breed. Almost everyone else we’ve met concurs. Dozens of people who meet her at the dog park or just pursuing her life of leisure often describe her beauty in almost Shakespearian grandiloquence. It’s a little embarrassing and we usually just acknowledge them with a “thank you.”

Luna’s our baby. She’s turned out thus far to be the Great Dane we hoped for. If the Ministry of Magic inquired whether we’d seen her, we’d reply, “yes, she’s the flatulent one sleeping on our sofa.”

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