Celebrate the Imperfect Dog

My dog is not perfect. He’s beautiful all right, but he’s not perfect. At least not according to the Kennel Club, preservers of the breed and creators of the Whippet Breed Standard. Although he is pretty much ‘correct’, my whippet has one major imperfection: his ears. The standard says that they should be “rose shaped, small and fine in texture”. Well, his aren’t. Rose-shaped, that is.

My whippet has ‘bat’ ears that make him look like a wizard or, some would say, a pharaoh hound. Although not too bad when he’s relaxed or disinterested, his ears come to life as soon as something catches his attention, which happens very often. Once up, they only come down when he’s begging for handouts from the dinner table or, strangely enough, when he watches my daughter’s hamsters swing on their monkey bars.


Now, I am a true supporter of the pure-bred, pedigree dogs and conformity with the standards. I am aware that without these many breeds could face peril in their original form. In fact, I used to be so obsessed with the standards that I often found myself following George around with the camera trying to capture him looking proper. I felt like I had something to prove. I don’t anymore. I’ve accepted that I won’t be able to show my dog, which I never wanted to do in the first place. And, most importantly, I’ve learnt to accept my dog for who he is.

I  believe that it is not only ridiculous, but also detrimental to rigidly apply the above-mentioned standards outside of the show ring and judge a dog’s quality solely on physical criteria. Most dogs end up as pets, not show exhibits. So surely, their nature, temperament and predisposition, as well as that je ne sais quoi that lets us know we’ve found the right one as soon as he looks in our eyes should matter more than any physical imperfection.

 To me, George’s ‘bat’ ears are his trademark, a reflection of his personality, a sign of intelligence and proof that he has a keen interest in what’s going on around him. They are a quality, and not a defect. Apparently, he also wags his tail too much, but this is not even worth a second thought. Aren’t dogs supposed to wag their tail when they’re happy? If they were human, they’d be so concerned with looking and acting the correct way that they’d forget how to have fun. Luckily for them, they’re just dogs.

So let’s celebrate our imperfect dogs, appreciate them for who they are and be grateful for the love, laughter and sunshine they bring to our lives!



Filed under General

10 responses to “Celebrate the Imperfect Dog

  1. First off let me say “George is gorgeous” and I enjoyed reading about him, I have three cat’s, none of them perfect, but who is lol… We love them for who they are and not what they look like…

    • Hi, Carole, thanks for your nice comment. Three cats sounds like a lot of fun, we’d like more dogs to keep George company, but for now the sensible thing is to stop at one – so we have to play with George to keep him entertained (now that I’m at the computer, he thinks it’s appropriate to kill his bed – again).
      I find your poems very interesting, and I love the humour in them. The soldier post brought tears to my eyes, I think we’ve all had enough of that, haven’t we? As for your “about” page, I have to admit I’ve never read anything quite like that before. Love it!!

  2. Does it matter if George has ‘imperfect ears’ surely that’s what makes him who he is. Yes I can understand if you had wanted to show him there is a guide to how they should look. It happens with all animals including our hens. As we keep them outside they have a lighter coat than a show hen should have, so with you on that one. However, we love our animals just the same don’t we? 🙂

    • Of course it doesn’t matter. I wrote the post with all pets in mind, not just dogs, but somehow it never crossed my mind that it could also apply to hens. Silly, really, why wouldn’t it? I would never enter George in a championship show, because I don’t think he’d enjoy standing on a table with a stranger feeling his ‘bits’ and pulling his tail. I’d give a fun show a try, just for fun. But, to be honest, now that you mentioned it, I’d probably more interested in going to a hen show 🙂

  3. marina

    oh, my gosh..he is absolutely gorgeous. I love his ears.
    Who cares about those standards… 🙂

  4. George is adorable! We don’t worry too much about what perfect is supposed to be around here, we just get out there and have fun together! 🙂

    • Hi, Carrie, and thank you for the nice comment and for subscribing to my blog. Your gorgeous Blueberry and her special eyes is the perfect proof of how relative ‘perfection’ is. I loved that last post 🙂
      I, too, have subscribed to your blog and Twitter, so I’ll be able to keep up with what you’re lot are up to. See you around!

  5. I sometimes call Honey my “reject dog.” Her breeder is very serious about breeding healthy and beautiful dogs that conform to the Golden Retriever standard. All the puppies in Honey’s litter visited a dog show judge at 6 weeks to determine which ones were most likely to be show quality. Honey didn’t make the cut so that’s why we were able to adopt her as a companion.


    • Your gain, their loss! I can completely relate to yours and Honey’s story. When we contacted George’s breeder, she said that somebody who is somebody in the whippet show world had looked at the puppies and thought George would be the tallest of the litter – i.e. too tall to meet the standard. She didn’t care about this either, she loved every single one of her pups, but wanted us to know where we stand from the beginning. I think this is how we got lucky and were able to have him, because other people didn’t want a tall whippet. Ironically, when we all met up on their 1st birthday, it turned out that George was, in fact, the shortest of the boys and comfortably within the height limit. You should have seen some people’s faces 🙂 I think people are silly rejecting puppies just like that, they normally make the most wonderful pets.

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