Monday, 8 June 2015

Indian takeaway - the St Bernard with no eyes

I've featured some exaggerated Indian-bred dogs in the past here (Pedigree Dogs Exposed India anyone?)and it has provoked outraged comments by those who consider themselves in more 'civilised' breeding countries.

The dog above is clearly a really exaggerated parody of what a St Bernard should be.  However, on this occasion the finger of blame needs to point not at his current owner in Punjab but at this dog's American breeder.

This dog is Trademarks Avatar - born in the USA on 24th April 2010.

Here he is as a youngster winning in Indiana in 2011 at a Berrian Kennel Club show.

He was then flogged off to India, and has become a champion there, too.

And he's not the only former American champ sold off to India for thousands of dollars. The same Indian kennel owns this dog, too - American + Indian Champion "Virgil" - here's a pic of him winning in the US.

And here he is today in India.

Poor dogs. Bred, sold, bought and campaigned by idiots with no sense of proportion. 

What should St Bernards be like?

Well how about these?




For more moderate current Saints, check out the Barry Foundation in Switzerland which is working on restoring the breed to its original type. Not all of their dogs are perfect, but they're getting some things right. This is Cheyenne, a four-year-old bitch with a lovely moderate head and good eyes - with Trademarks Avatar below for comparison.


  1. Tragic, absolutely tragic

  2. curious to know how you know the price paid for these dogs

    1. What does that add to the discussion? You keen to cash in yourself? Interesting how you pick THAT out of this car crash...

    2. whether it's a pound a rupee, a penny or thousands, it involves money Bestuvall. It's money that promotes the travesty that is inflicted on thousands of dogs throughout the world whereby some breeders feel they can exaggerate a breed to incredibly cruel limits. Your only concern about this poor St B, is money. Not his ability see, the pain he must have from the wait of the wrinkles, the weight of his head against the smaller frame of his body. All of these complaints would be painful bestuvall, the dog doesn't care if he is worth 1000s of whatever commodity, he does care about his continual discomfort. His body looks to be reasonable proportion in itself but with a head of that size? Open your eyes, stop being rude and think about the dogs. Dogs who cannot speak, complain, just accept, they have no other choice. We do have a choice and those of us who see this wicked deliberate deformity being bred will speak on these dogs behalf. I'm shocked that other breeders of this breed have not contacted the animal welfare people because the number of dogs being abused need to have protection from someone - YOU AND ME.

  3. What should St. Bernard's be like?

    Well, there's a question. This seems to depend and is in no way a logical question to ask when you look at how pedigree dog breeding has become a freak show. They breed freaks. That rational question is wasted on these people...

    1. Simple - big dogs who can move, see, hear, eat comfortably, whelp naturally and have a good quality of life. But the breeders of these atrocities would not understand, and you are quite right, it is wasted on these people.

    2. Blame the Judges, breeders & money. You are right, they have become freaks & people applaud them.

    3. I think the rational for the freaks of today is to differentiate the "pure bred" from other "breeds" the St Burnard of a hundred years ago is not stand out from other dogs of a similar size and style.

  4. Hmm not nice, sadly the owner looks proud too.

    It's quite common to sell off showing dogs from America to the East usually just before their career is over. Many you see wining in the rings here are dogs that have won a lot in America. They get sold for a fortune so they can continue to win here for a year or two before they retire usually siring one or two litters of babies. Often they are then sold again and often to another country when they've lost interest in mating either to another breeder who can then claim to have an all American all Indian or Japanese etc champ or to a pet owner who can claim the same, a second hand second hand status symbol.

    It's disgusting to treat a dog like that IMO.

    This type of show St Bernard is a travesty, the modern Indian Mastiff is a far better type just hope these dogs dont end up influencing them.

    PED is not entirely unknown in Asia luckily.

  5. I am curious, because I don't know a lot about this kind of freakish breeding - do the shape of their heads and bodies continue to change as they age? Because they don't look the same as youngsters as they do now. The heads are bigger and differently shaped. So do they show these dogs while they have the 'desired' appearance, and when they mutate into ... well ... THAT, do they sell them of?

    1. The "mutations" continue winning in countries with less than stringent health requirements, small numbers of the breed, judges that are out of the loop (aren't they all).

      The mutation is just the adult form of the juvenile. Many of these breeds are train wrecks by the time they are mature barely able to walk properly. They can take three to four years to mature then die at around six or seven years old. In that time they have barely ever been functional as a species. It seems they are their best as youngsters, maybe then they still have the energy and will to carry their deformities off even if rather unconvincingly.

      Buying one these breeds including great Danes, old English mastiffs etc is highly inadvisable. Costly in upkeep including vet bills and high in heart break and then they are dead, yet more heart break.

      Look for alternative types, heealthy crosses, working type dogs or responsible breeders that put function first. In the mastiffs there aren't that many around but they are there if you are able to import.

      What a business it is just finding a healthy functional long lived breed of dog!

      The point of the whole exercise in breeding dogs like this is to look good in a show ring for five minutes with your freakishly large dysfunctional dog. A teensy ego boost seems to go a long way in the show ring.

      They might as well have them stuffed at three moths old and put on the mantle.

    2. "Mutation" might have been a strong word to use - I just had a hard time finding any other that 'fit' the situation.

      Thank you for answering my question. I love dogs, but I'm not a breeder, and as someone who does truly love and care for animals, I don't understand WHY anyone would do this to a breed just to get bragging rights (what is it these days? Congratulations, you have the most inbred dog of them all!) It is terribly sad what these 'breeders' have done to the different breeds. These dogs were once proud, happy, working dogs and now they're just caricatures of their former selves. It's painful to see.

      I have happily owned mutts ever since my beloved GSD died of heart cancer when he was 10 years old. My crossbreeds are both 13 now, and healthy, hardy, sweet dogs that are still as active as any puppy. They haven't been to the vet for illness in years - they simply don't get sick.

    3. the dogs head continues to grow until almost 4 years of age especially for males. A lot of saints have eye issues and it is very common, this is an example of an over exaggerated dog. It can happen out of any litter of even normal sized pups. I feel the need to point out that these dogs are show standard bred dogs. Following the guidelines of the Akc as well as the SBCA. So for someone to feel they had to make it a point to just destroy one owner in India it did come from America!! He was bred in Michigan and championed and sold it happens all the time with champion dogs. He still is an amazing dog temperament wise and angulation just needs a female to outcross to fix his faults. That's science if you are a breeder, you need to know what dogs to outcross to fix problems such as bad eyes and should not rely on inbreeding. I'm sorry I would prefer a dog that looks like our American saints and not a dog that looks like a lab crossbreed. All breeds change its part of breeding. However the dogs pictured look crossbred and not pure. Whoever wrote this obviously doesn't know about breeding or you wouldn't pick a specific dog you would write about the breed as a whole. If your not a breeder, please don't open your mouth.

    4. They look "cross breeds and not pure" because they look like healthy dogs?

      You have breed blindness.

      BTW This is not an American breed or type of dog maybe yours should be called "The American St. Bernard". At least potential owners would know what to avoid.

      Sadly it's not so simple and Americans are not the only ones to have ruined and continue to ruin magnificent dog breeds like the St. Bernard. I've seen some very sad European bred ones too.

      However have I got news for you the dog only looks like it does today (minus the hideous exaggerations) because of heavy outcrossing to different breeds, something of an irony for people like you perhaps?

      Those few dogs left after the breeds working days were all but numbered in the early 1800's looked nothing like the sad monster "Trademarks Avatar" does today and very much more like the absolutely gorgeous though perhaps slightly butch bitch "Cheyenne". I would be more than thrilled to share my life with such a dog. Absolutely, anyday.

  6. The dogs you have shown are very exaggerated as you have seen. Our standard certainly does not condone such animals. Please do not think that is normal. We try to breed dogs closer to the standard without exaggeration. Regards, Joan Zielinski, President, St Bernard Club of America.

    1. Isn't this proof that that is exactly what you're not doing?

      Im afraid it's not possible to hide behind your presidency of the St Bernard Club of America or your standard. Both seem to be serious contributing factors to the monsters being born.

      A dog that looks good for a year or two as a youngster like "Trademarks Avatar" before it ends up four years later looking like the hideous blind monster it matures out as should not be winning dog shows in America????! Even worse sold off to India! Spreading the problem around the globe is not responsible.

      How is this breeding away from exaggerations?

      Have you changed your standard? If so please enlighten us about the changes that make it clear a dog should not end up looking like this American winning dog. Why was it winning in America in 2011?

      Have a good day y'all hear.

  7. I am not a specialist when it comes to St Bernards, although I do judge other breeds in FCI countries. However, I'm afraid that - regardless of their country - all conformation judges can only judge what they get in the ring on the day of the show, not what they think might or might not happen to a youngster when it grows up.... Moreover, judges are not allowed to consult a catalogue before a show, so often don't know much about an exhibit's bloodlines before judging it (unless we are talking about a famous winner, of course...). The picture of the winning dog posted before he was shipped off to India looks quite OK to me at that stage of his development, so I think it's quite unfair to blame the judges who made the dog up when it's the show organising rules which are to blame... I would also like to note that in the USA, a dog of any breed can be made up as a champion before he reaches adulthood, and that is possibly something which should possibly be reconsidered for certain late-maturing breeds! Lots of other countries without strict breeding regulations also allow breeders to use immature dogs for breeding, which in the present case is also a mistake...

    1. Judges do not have to award points to dogs, regardless of what or how many are in the ring.

    2. Ya @Anonymouse then you don't know your breeds very well. Its clear to any person with even the briefest understanding of mastiffs what this dogs make up is/was all about, both as a winning dog and as an endorsement.

      True judges don't get to see the dogs as tiny puppies and in this case its clear that it would've been a hopelessly exaggerated pup with all the hall marks of growing into same sad monster folly it is.

      It's not exactly rocket science seeing it as a youngster later and being able to recognise this. Judges are meant to fully comprehend breed characteristics?!

      American and Indian Champ Virgil is in exactly the same boat as Avatar.

      Train wrecks.

      It is true as AnotherMouse said earlier on that in a litter of quite unexaggerated pups one in the litter might display the worrying signs of gigantism. However this is avoidable and must be bred away from because you are sacrificing health athleticism and function otherwise.

      To have such dog actually wining at a dog show and promoted across the globe is not avoiding the problem at all is it? Its sending a very clear message that this type will not only win in America but it will then be able to be sold for a large sum abroad too.

      To your point of judge ignorance, no its far worse, it's a case of judges awarding dogs that they believe correct for the breed. They fail to see the consequences of this.

  8. I need to ask, how doyou know this dog is blind? Do you have his CERF certificate? Or do u see it on the OFA registry? Do you have his vet records? OK you can pull up a picture and a name of the dog. But how do u really know this dog is blind?

  9. If you are not blind Anon of 01:37, you will notice that the heavy skin folds around the dog's eyes actually compress and cover the eyes. Ergo, the dog cannot see, because no light gets in through the thick, excessive skin folds. The dog is effectively blind.

    The dog is effectively blind because a greedy idiot decided to place form over function when selecting dogs to breed from.

    Has your love of "Breed Standards" caused your blindness?

  10. Breeding is breeding, if there wasn't breeding all dogs would be sled dogs and hunting dogs. Studies have shown 9000 years ago pretty much 2 types of dogs, not including dingos and wolves which probably where original. So ANY BREED u get unless it's a gray wolf is massively deformed from its ORIGINAL ANCESTORS. PERIOD.