R.O.M. - Good or Bad???
The idea of designating dogs or bitches as being worthy of Register Of Merit listing is not new. Lots of other breeds do it and the intentions are probably always good, but does it end up that way? Does the desire for R.O.M status make people breed too many dogs as does the feverish desire to be breeders of the year? Given the number of dog shows and the ease of making your own majors the criteria for R.O.M. status obviously needs some changes. We have people showing dogs year around who can create an R.O.M. very quickly by the same standards used when it was much tougher.
It’s long been my feeling that credit given to dogs or breeders such as top stud dogs, brood bitches, R.O.M. or breeders of the year should be done on a percentage basis. My theory has always fallen on deaf ears, but I still think it’s the right way to do it. If your dog sires ten puppies from two litters and five finish why should he be considered inferior to a dog who sires one hundred puppies and six finish? Of course, we know dinosaurs have weird ideas.
The R.O.M., top breeders, and top studs and dams are just a few of the things the C.C. of A. might think about addressing. The C.C. of A. has done a lot of good things for the Collie, but remember the club is not an entity, but only a group of people. Its ability to move the Collie forward is only as good as the people we all elect. Often some who seem to be excellent candidates decline getting involved at the national level for various reasons.
My own choice was not to seek national office though I was asked several times. It’s just not something I cared to do. I was District Director in New Jersey and chaired both the Standard Committee and Tellers Committee. My choice was to work at breeding better dogs rather than hold national office. We each need to use the talents with which we are endowed by our maker.
Our current president, Pati Merrill, has my wholehearted respect and admiration. She has so many outstanding qualities and sets a good example for our membership. Pati is not just an exhibitor/breeder or a politician hoping to wear a little pin. She genuinely loves the Collie and cares about all Collies not just the ones that can win at shows. In addition she’s crazy enough to run for president after having done it before.
A friend who knows of my involvement with Collies asked me recently, “what’s happening to Collies?” For years our breed was in the top ten in registrations. It seems as though many people remember a Collie from their childhood. The fall from favor has been going on for years and could be for many reasons. It’s not size or grooming since Shepherds, Goldens, and Labs are all in the top ten and are big dogs with grooming needs.
It could definitely have to do with the eye issues and the ads in papers over the years saying “Collie pups, eyes checked” which made the public sensitive to a problem they and most vets didn’t understand. Albert Payson Terhune no longer cranks out books and magazine articles and Lassie no longer performs heroics on TV. All of these things have an impact and we’re not always good to each other. We need to think more about the good of the breed and less about improving our image by knocking the competition.
Collies have gradually over time become a tough breed to show. The makeup, fixed ears, and some other unsavory practices have made it tough for the little guy to compete. Nowhere is this more evident than at the highest level. It may be too late to see Collies go back to being the people’s breed. They may be doomed to the fate of most terriers, poodles, and some others. If so, I’m glad to be an old dinosaur since I don’t wish to watch it happen.
To all our many friends, Phyllis and I wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. My cracked pelvis continues to heal and we have a new puppy coming courtesy of Jerry and Kathy Zehetner. Yes, there is a Santa Claus!
Think about it!