Let me try again as to why and whom the CCA will benefit. Going back again to the origins of the breeds and those big kennels. If you then wanted to get started in showing your dogs or breeding or into hunting, you would go to one of those big kennels and work and learn about the dogs and how the kennels were run and about animal husbandry practices and everything else that was involved with the dogs. These people had mentors and were mentors to others who were involved or wanted to be involved in the fancy. A person could go to one of these big kennels and see upwards of 100 dogs that were all closely related and generation after generation so they could see and learn about structure and movement and breed type and how the form of the dog follows the function they were bred to do.
We don't have that anymore. Property restrictions, zoning ordinances, money and so many other things and so those big kennels don't exist anymore.
So, just where does someone who wants to learn about the breed go? How do they learn? Ok, you can read books, you can look at things on the internet and you can go to dog shows. But, if you really don't know what the golden standard means when it says: Head
Broad in skull, slightly arched laterally and longitudinally without prominence of frontal bones (forehead) or occipital bones. Stop
well defined but not abrupt. Foreface
deep and wide, nearly as long as skull. Muzzle
straight in profile, blending smooth and strongly into skull; when viewed in profile or from above, slightly deeper and wider at stop than at tip. No heaviness in flews. Removal of whiskers is permitted but not preferred. Eyes
friendly and intelligent in expression, medium large with dark, close-fitting rims, set well apart and reasonably deep in sockets. Color preferably dark brown; medium brown acceptable. Slant eyes and narrow, triangular eyes detract from correct expression and are to be faulted. No white or haw visible when looking straight ahead. Dogs showing evidence of functional abnormality of eyelids or eyelashes (such as, but not limited to, trichiasis, entropion, ectropion, or distichiasis) are to be excused from the ring. Ears
rather short with front edge attached well behind and just above the eye and falling close to cheek. When pulled forward, tip of ear should just cover the eye. Low, hound-like ear set to be faulted. Nose
black or brownish black, though fading to a lighter shade in cold weather not serious. Pink nose or one seriously lacking in pigmentation to be faulted. Teeth
scissors bite, in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors. Undershot or overshot bite is a disqualification.
Misalignment of teeth (irregular placement of incisors) or a level bite (incisors meet each other edge to edge) is undesirable, but not to be confused with undershot or overshot. Full dentition. Obvious gaps are serious faults.
just where and to whom do you go to find out??
To be a better breeder, exhibitor, you need to be constantly learning more-what we call a student of the breed. So, the GRCA set up the CCA as a very INFORMAL-and I am stressing informal event so that people could learn in the hopes that by learning more from their peers and with a hands on written evaluation that they could refer back to from evaluators that the GRCA had approved as knowledgeable about the breed and the standard.
So, lets go back to form follows function. What and why is this important? The standard isn't just there so that goldens keep looking like goldens. That is part of it and that is type. Type refers to when you see a dog off in the distance, can you tell it is a golden or does it look like an Irish Setter?? But then we have all these words that talk about how tall and long and how much the dogs should weigh and how their front assembly should be built and what their toplines should look like and so on and so forth. So, you may say to yourself, I just want a pet-why are these things important to me? They are important to you because if the dog isn't built at all like it should be(not even remotely close) the dog will have issues down the road even being able to go out and hike and play ball. If the stifle(the knee area) is too straight and not a gentle half moon, as I like to describe it, this can result in torn cruciate ligaments. Now, there are other factors that can contribute to this as well, such as weight and age but structural issues also contribute to issues the dog will have down the road.
So, you want a dog to be an agility dog or a hunting companion on the weekend. Why do you care if the dog has a straight upper arm and upright shoulders?? Because the dog will get tired faster when the dog isn't built properly. If the dog has a strong desire to please and a good work ethic, they can overcome some of these structural issues but over time, these issues will cause the dog problems. The dog will break down and be prone to more injuries than if they are built properly.
So, now you have a dog that has a few obedience titles and maybe some agility titles or a tracking title-just fill in the blanks. She gets all her clearances and she has a great temperament-she is biddable, learns quickly and gets along well with other dogs and all people. So, how do you decide who to breed her to?? If you don't know where the structural problems with her lie, you can't improve and the goal of any breeding program is to improve on what you have(or it should be
So, now you decide-OK, I am going to take her to a CCA. You find out that she has a dip in her topline and maybe she is missing a tooth and her coat is a little softer than it should be. With this information, you can then find Studly who does not have those issues and then hopefully, you will be able to improve upon what she is in regaurd to the standard while keeping the good things about her.
Now going back to informal......at the last CCA I judged at, I had some very well known obedience exhibitors who have been showing for many years and who have had many OTCH dogs come thru to have their dogs evaluated. Every single one of them said that they had learned quite a bit and found the process quite interesting. Now some of them also weren't very good at gaiting because they had never been taught to gait. They had been taught to heel as obedience dogs. But, an experienced evaluator can use their hands to feel the dogs structure and also see the few steps where the dog was actually gaiting and still be able to give an evaluation and opinion on the dog.
That is part of the reason that a lot of performance people do a CCA and as like Anney had also mentioned it does fulfill the conformation aspect for a dog to be able to earn a VC(versatility certificate) where before the CCA, they would have had to be entered in conformation shows and gotten minor points or major reserves. For many people, this wasn't something they were interested in doing because they couldn't show the dog themselves and it would entail them hiring a handler or something along those lines.
No matter how long you have been a breeder or exhibitor, you always need to be learning and improving on what you have. If you are a performance person and you learn your golden has upright shoulders and a straight upper arm, that all of a sudden explains why when they are heeling that they want to swing wide, forge, etc. The degree of the issue will have an affect on the problems that you see with them structurally. So, now you know what those look and feel like so the next time you get a new puppy, you can overcome that obstacle or when you are looking at stud dogs, you can look for a dog who has a better front to improve on what you already have.