by Dennis McKeon
The intent and result of good breed custodianship shouldn’t be about “keeping the breed around”. Yet we often hear people who really have no idea of what managing a population of dogs entails, say things like, “If greyhound racing disappeared, there would still be greyhounds. They’ve been around for thousands of years before racing”.
And while that may be true, it fails to note that for as long as they have been around men, they’ve always had a job to perform. There are few breeds, sporting or otherwise, whose breeding records can be documented as far back as the 1700s, as can the Greyhound’s.
In any event, as human culture evolved, so did the greyhound’s role in human societies. The people who now wish to take away the last functional refuge of the greyhound, are the very same people who have denied him the expression of his original hunting heritage, in almost all areas of the Western world.
Yet it is the primacy of these functions that have informed every fiber, sinew and aspect of your greyhound, from the tip of his nose, right down to the zygote. No one in the USA owns a retired racing greyhound who was “bred to be a pet”. That never enters into the selective equation. That mystical, ethereal, beguiling aspect of their nature that we all recognize, but can’t quite put words to, is the one common denominator of all greyhounds, throughout history. It is the primacy of their function.
The racing greyhound today, is the result of 100 years of having been bred to perform a specific function, which is simply an improvisation upon its original hunting purpose. That original purpose is, for the vast majority of greyhounds, denied to them today, by law.
So while racing may not be of any interest or attraction to you, it is the only macro-scale activity that reinforces and preserves the primacy of the greyhound, the only thing that supports a vast and genetically diverse greyhound population, and the only thing which stands between that and fringe breed status, or worse, for the Greyhound.
The cause and effect of their breeding, raising, training, handling, environment and experiences as racers, are formative and immutable. The greyhounds we profess to love, are who and what they are, precisely BECAUSE of–not in spite of—all those things. That’s how dogs manifest.
And no amount of hysterical and destructive propaganda can change it.
copyright, 2015 Dennis McKeon