It has to do with dogs and photography...surprise, surprise!
Have you ever seen photos of the winning dogs at a field trial or dog show?
Field photos are invariably of a group of tired, mud-spattered handlers and judges lined up in front of a win-blown banner for the Choke 'N Puke Dog Biscuit Company or something. For some reason the handlers insist on trying to "stack" the dog to look like an American Pointer on point....high head and tail. It ends up looking like the dog is about to be examined by an ear, nose and throat surgeon on one end and a proctolgist on the other. And it seems that the photo is always taken while the dogs fidget, the handlers chat and the wind catches the banner just right, warping it to look like it reads "Midwestern...Dog...Puke...Championship".
Show photos are usually done by a "pro" with all the fancy lights and cameras. Yet no matter how good the gear or the photographer the pictures are always the same: a proud-as-a-peacock handler wearing the latest in really loud fashions (preferable with cleavage till tuesday) strangling a dog that looks for all the world like it is about to choke and puke.
And don't even get me started on those poor, humilated dress-up dogs of William Wigman. The artist-turned-marketing machine has churned out thousands of cutesy photos of dogs as Sesame Street meat-puppets and in so doing has accomplished two things: he has become very wealthy and, in my humble opinion, he has done more damage to the breed than rabies.
Why did this fellow, a pretty decent artist, and for all I know a nice guy, have to choose the Weimaraner? Why couldn't he turn his attention to a breed that is already screwed? Aren't there any cute tea-cup poodles out there that are actually bred to be dressed up as Cinderella?
Good ol Willy chose the Weimaraner because "they are pointing dogs so they are used to standing still for long periods of time". I kid you not. He actually said that (or something to that effect). Anyone with a Weimaraner, especially if the dog came from one of the many puppy mills out there serving the market Wigman helps to perpetuate, will tell you that their Weimaraner would rather spin and spazz than actually stand still for more than a quarter of a second. OR at least until the prozac kicks in... on both ends of the leash.
Now I must admit that I kinda like some of the photos. Certainly the ones where the dogs are "au natural" are pleasing to look at (the dress up ones are just plain wrong). Lord knows I take lots of photos of my dogs and I even sell the prints to collectors. No, it is not really the photos that bug me. What really gets me is the Wigman effect on the breed as a whole.
No one knows just how many Weimaraners are in shelters and in the hands of overworked rescue committee members right now, today, as a direct result of cheap Weim merchandise being pumped out by the Wigman International Corporation 24/7.
But I bet that if we did know the real number and the real damage done to the breed it would be enough to make more than a few people choke and puke.
The satirical post above was recently dredged up in a thread on Reddit and now that I re-read it, I can see where some of the negative comments sent my way may be justified. It seems that my critique of William Wegman's work featuring Weimaraners may have been a bit over the top and has touched a nerve or two.
One poster in particular seems to disagree with me. He/she wrote that my criticism of Wegman was "entirely unsupported and unfair". And he/she is partially right. I have no published, peer reviewed statistics to support my position that Wegman's work has greatly increased the popularity of the Weimaraner (especially among non-hunters). So yes, what I wrote was unsupported, but not entirely. You see, I've been in the breed long enough to know more than just a few people who chose the Weimaraner specifically because of Wegman's work. Fortunately, for most of those people, things worked out. They got decent dogs from decent breeders. But anecdotal evidence of things 'not working out' is easy to come by. Contact just about any Weim rescue group and ask them about why they are so often overwhelmed with discarded dogs. I am pretty sure they will tell you that among other reasons (divorce, moving etc.) a lot of Weims are discarded because they were purchased on a whim and after a while things just 'didn't work out'. And then ask yourself, what could inspire such a whim? My guess is that seeing Weims dressed and acting like humans on TV or in a book or poster etc. has lead to more than just a few families jumping on the Weim bandwagon...and then bailing when they realize that their dog is a dog, a high energy, super smart, dog... and nothing like the dress-up toy they saw on Sesame Street.
|When I dress up my Weims, it's camo neoprene!|
|Blaze orange is also a Weim friendly colour|
One final note. I don't mind criticism. I have a thick skin. I can take a shot, deserved or not. So bring it on. But here's a pro tip: if you want to call someone out on Reddit for making "entirely unsupported and unfair" accusations, you might want to avoid writing, in the very same thread, things like "Craig is also a libellous prick." and "This guy is such an asshole.. he calls himself a photographer too, eh! He's just some guy with a camera compared to Wegman." Otherwise the whole "libellous prick" thing becomes rather self-referential, no?
|Artist's rendering of a Reddit discussion about Weimaraners|