I'm not a breeder, so I don't have a dog in this fight (so to speak
). But it seems to me that the GRCA Code of Ethics is a minimum standard
. Those who do not abide by it should rightly be the focus of criticism. Doing so saves people money, saves puppies' health and lives, and gives unsuspecting puppy buyers much needed information. I don't see this as an issue of competition. I see it as very concerned breed advocates trying to police their own, with no power to do anything but speak as loudly as possible.
On the other hand, occasionally that passion and vigilance wrongly condemns those who are doing things right, or who are making unrecognized efforts to do things right, or who are just learning, themselves, and want to do things right. But most of the time, folks here seem to get it right.
I've had a couple dogs from breeders who do not abide by the GRCA COE, and I have one now, in fact. The one I had, lived 14 years with zero health problems (she's the one lying down in the beach photo in my signature). She was an amazing dog. Wasn't close to show quality, but had perfect temperament, was incredibly smart, had an amazing nose, was brave as can be, and was a wonderful companion. She saved lives, and even had her picture in the paper once. She lived to 14. So, even though she came from a bad breeder, she was an excellent Golden Retriever. I have another dog from the same bad breeder, this one a rescue. She's a physical mess (she's the one covered in mud in my signature photo). Sweet as can be, but a bit fearful, only 44 lbs full grown, bad hips and elbows, horrible structure, dumb as a box of rocks, and people either don't know what breed she is or think she's a puppy. So the thing about breeders who don't abide by the COE is, it doesn't mean you absolutely will get a bad or unhealthy puppy, but the odds of doing so are dramatically higher and the number of potential problems are greatly increased.
Folks here are arguing in favor of an ethical system that minimizes the chance for problems in puppies -- problems that can cause dogs to suffer, that cost owners money and heartache, and which may not show up when the puppy is young. Folks here are trying to do a good thing for dogs and people. It's not a matter of competition. To say that is to misunderstand them and their motivations, I think. Do they sometimes go overboard? Sure, because passion necessarily knows excess. Is there sometimes an unfair pack mentality unleashed on a good person? Unfortunately, yes. But even the excesses are born of nothing but care for the breed, and to call it competition is just as unfair as the unfairness they are accused of.