White dogs are a disqualification according to the Boxer standard.
Fri, 08/18/2023 - 10:37am

Question of the Week

As a general rule, do you believe in disqualifications in your or any other breed standard?


Patricia Princehouse 

Chardon, Ohio

DQs are a judge's best friend — no dithering about how serious a fault is. It's in or out and move on. 


Gay Kuehnel-Hisatake

Trenton, New Jersey

If a breed club agrees that it is necessary to have DQs incorporated into their standard in order to preserve the essence of their breed, then I absolutely support it. Fads have become popular, particularly with adding or changing colors in some breeds, and then there is the Doodle craze. DQs for size, weight, color and the mouth were put in place for a specific reason, and are important to maintain integrity and purpose for certain breeds.


Kate McMillan

Delisle, Saskatchewan, Canada

Without a DQ for oversize, our Miniature Schnauzers would quickly stretch skyward to the heavens. There is problem enough with judges rewarding entries that clearly call for the wicket, without eliminating that tool completely.

As for our color disqualifications — the corruption of the gene pool by clandestine crossbreeding has spawned AKC registration of whites, chocolates and particolors in abundance. To preserve the essential quality of Schnauzer type, their disqualification is an important "zero tolerance" statement about these practices to judges and breeders alike.

While many will argue that judges can be trusted to guard breed type through individual discretion, we must note that the Miniature Schnauzer standard's “severe” penalty for undocked dogs seems “more honour'd in the breach than the observance.”

That fact alone reinforces the argument that DQs remain an essential protection for our breed.


Jamie Hubbard

Bloomington, Indiana

100%, yes. Most DQs have been instituted for a reason from the parent club. Newer additions are added because of trends in the breed that need to be steered well away from. Although there are a handful of questionable DQs, I believe their intent is good. 


Doug Broadfoot

Hillsborough, North Carolina

Since breed DQs have been approved by the parent clubs and their members, as well as AKC, they certainly ought to be believed in!

That said, I do believe some DQs are more important than others. Those addressing features essential to preserving breed type are the most important. In my breed (Whippets), for example, we have a height DQ. A Whippet measuring below the lower limit would be approaching IG territory, and one measuring above the upper limit would be getting close to the height of a small Greyhound. Another Whippet DQ disallows any coat other than short, close, smooth and firm in texture. This one was added at a time when so-called “longhaired Whippets” began to appear that were actually purebred Whippets crossed with other breed(s). It was specifically added as a defensive move to preserve breed type. The other three Whippet DQs prohibit undershot; overshot one-quarter inch or more, and blue eye(s), any portion of blue in the eye(s), as well as both eyes not being of the same color. Although these three are also important, I would argue that they are less important than both the height and coat DQs. 

I’ll share one additional thought on breed DQs, particularly in Sighthounds. Some of the oldest breed standards — Afghan Hound, Greyhound and Saluki, among others — have no DQs. Some of the most recent breed standards — Sloughi and Cirneco dell’Etna, for example — have six and nine-plus, respectively. Are any of these breeds better or worse off because of it?


Patricia Taylor

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

In a nutshell: No, not in breed standards, but YES definitely for biting/attacking dogs or people at an official dog-show site. Not just in the rings, but at any show site. Dogs should be under control at all times. 


LeeAnne Francis 

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Yes, I do. My breed is Great Danes, I’ve been in the breed over 30 years. I breed and show the harlequin color family. 

Years ago, you could not enter the futurity unless your lines were color pure for five generations. Now they are permitting cross-color breeding, in which harlequins can be bred to fawn or other colors. The result is incorrectly marked harlequins or other mismarks. There is a color standard still present for the harlequin. I believe that judges should adhere to this. But now it seems with all the newer breeders doing the cross-color breeding, they are all jumping on the “color doesn’t matter” bandwagon. I really think we need to go back to our color standards for the seven acceptable colors. And those that deviate from that need to be disqualified from competition.


Karen Fitzpatrick

Kankakee, Illinois

YOU BETCHA! Along with faults. Without these, where would each breed be? We may as well fall off into the category of backyard breeders. I think faults and DQs help retain type! Without type, we have nothing. Along with just plain old common sense. 


Elizabeth Barrett 

Snellville, Georgia

Why have standards to prove breeding stock if there aren't disqualifications to eliminate those dogs that do not conform to minimal benchmarks?



Alan F. Ream

Easley, South Carolina

I believe every breed should have DQs and more of them.

There are too many exhibits getting conformation titles today that are far from what their standard calls for, because there are no disqualifications.

From my personal experience I've seen tall, leggy, long Brussels Griffons that weigh 16-plus pounds winning, over and over again.

If there was a size disqualification like there is in Miniature Schnauzers and a weight disqualification like there is in the French Bulldog, these exhibits that are incorrect wouldn't be in the ring for long.

The one that SHOULD be a DQ instead of "Excused" is the Changing of Natural Color or Markings. 

Technically a judge could DQ for changing color as it should be considered changing appearance by artificial means.


Lilian S. Barber

Menifee, California

I believe that disqualifications are definitely a necessity in conformation competition for two very important reasons.  One of those would be for a DQ regarding something affecting the health of a dog and/or its ability to perform the activities for which its breed is intended.  The other would be for something that visually contradicts or lacks a feature described in that particular breed’s standard.


Gail Litke

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Yes, I believe that there should be disqualifications if the dog does not meet the breed standard. Breed standards, in my opinion, are meant to ensure that the breed is true to its origin and what it was bred for.


Diana Smiley 

Santa Rosa, California

I do believe in breed disqualifications. In my breed we have a DQ for height, too tall and too short. Even with the DQ, the judges are letting them slip by. If we had no height DQs, the Shibas would start to be the size of an Akita or a Pomeranian. 


Missy Wood

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Other than issues pertaining to temperament, I do not approve of breed disqualifications.


Lani Morris

Whitesville, Kentucky

Yes, I believe that breed disqualifications are a necessary evil. 

I’ve been in the situation where I had exceptional individuals who were oversized and couldn’t be shown. It’s really heartbreaking to get a good one and know that you run the risk of getting measured (or weighed) out if you do show that dog. But if you have a breed standard with DQs, they are there for a reason: for the long-term preservation of the breed.

Remember that the goal of dog showing is to present animals that are worthy of reproducing. Often, our motives are simply to win, but that’s not how this sport got started. It was about the future welfare of the breeds.

Form too often follows fashion rather than function in our sport. One flashy, albeit incorrect dog that is allowed to win can have a big influence on what judges and newcomers to showing and breeding think is correct. People start breeding for those traits and down the road breed type has been tweaked, and not in a good way.

If the standard is well thought out and comprehensive, and there are faults that must not be propagated for the long-term preservation of breed type, DQs are necessary.

Having been on both sides of the equation — having dogs DQed and also having correct dogs beaten by dogs that should be DQed — I believe that DQs serve their respective breeds well in the long run.


Carol Hamilton

Los Angeles, California

ABSOLUTELY! There should be more. Too many dogs aren’t capable of doing what they were bred to do.


Diana L. Skibinski 

Crown Point, Indiana

Yes, I believe in breed disqualifications if they help define breed type. For example, the Dalmatian is a spotted breed, therefore a patch is a disqualification. 


Laura Libner

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Do I believe in breed disqualifications? In my breed, Pugs, yes. There are two colors, fawn and black. Fawns can vary from an apricot hue to a fawn or light beige. Anything other than that should be disqualified. 


Linda Tilka

Madeira Beach, Florida

Yes, we need disqualifications. We have a standard for every breed. Do we want our Poodles to gradually look like Bulldogs because of no supervision? Poodles would be one breed versus three varieties if we did not have size DQs. It would be disastrous. We would have designer dogs in purebreds. Makes me cringe. 


Celeste M. Gonzalez

Thomasville, North Carolina

I absolutely agree with DQs in my own breed standards (Basset Hounds and Manchester Terriers) and the other ones that currently exist in their breed standards. In fact, I wish that all breed standards would include height and/or weight DQs, as breeds that drift morphologically from their established height and/or weight parameters begin to lose type, some to the point of becoming non-functional caricatures. So many times, out-of-characteristic exhibits are rewarded, and the drift continues.

As an example, and one I was involved in: I judged a class of males in a breed and put up the oversized (not a DQ) dog, and then carried him to WD. I explained to the exhibitor as I was handing her the ribbon that I recognized the dog was considerably oversize, but that in my opinion, he met all the other aspects of the standard better. I suggested to her that if the dog were to be bred, that it be done so with extreme care as to correct size for the breed. It was a difficult adjudication decision for me that day. Had there been a DQ for height and/or weight, it would have been easier, as the exhibit would have never come in the ring, or would have been measured out.


Robert “Randy” McAteer

Ocala, Florida

Yes, I believe every breed should have a height minimum and maximum disqualification. Unfortunately, the breeds that have these are rarely used and only by a few judges. Exhibitors and handlers talk poorly of or make fun of these judges ...

Why? Do they get upset when their dog’s testicles are checked? When teeth are checked or counted? 

Now we have coat colors, pattern markings and other such things that AKC seems ambiguous about clarifying, so these animals seem to fall under the radar and get "away" with the disqualification. It is going on as we speak in Cane Corsos.


V. Sandy Herzon

Miami, Florida

No DQs except for biting or highly aggressive behavior! 

It should be up to the knowledgeable judge to excuse dogs that don't conform to their AKC-accepted breed standard.


Larry Payne

Easley, South Carolina

Yes. How can you have a breed standard without disqualifications? You may as well do away with AKC-registered purebreds and allow any "mongrel" to be shown. I love mongrels as pets. They more than often make great pets, and growing up, all my pets were mongrels and I loved them dearly.


Marlene Keene

Elk Grove, California

Yes, I approve of having breed disqualifications on my breed (Rottweiler). This serves as a guideline to breeding only the superior specimens of a breed, as well as educating breeders and keeping high standards in their breeding program. 


Daryl Heggie

Kennesaw, Georgia

First, the founders and guardians of our breeds wrote the standards and included DQs for a reason — i.e., a Great Dane should be great.

Second, it doesn’t matter what one “believes,” whether you are an exhibitor, handler, breeder or judge. The written standards are what we breed to. And we expect judges to honor them and judge accordingly. 

In the end, this is conformation, and we should breed and show exhibits that are as close as possible to the standards.

When an exhibit that has a DQ or even a severe fault is rewarded over those that do not, then that is grossly unfair to the rest of the field who spent perhaps decades breeding to the standard.

Judges are the gatekeepers. If they don’t mind the gate, then the sport of dogs is meaningless and just becomes an expensive social weekend.


Esther Hall

Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada

I do agree with breed DQs (in my breed) as far as showing; however, I do not believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater unless that DQ creates a health issue. 

I will not speak to other breeds; I believe it is only those who have a vested interest in the history of why such DQs were implemented that have the right and knowledge to do so. 


Karen Mull

Lititz, Pennsylvania

Yes, and for some breeds I wish there more disqualifications, especially regarding size, since so many breeds are getting smaller. If we as breeders and enthusiasts are trying to promote our breeds, then we need to adhere to our standards better and have judges understand our standards and to validate the fact that if a dog is supposed to be able to do a certain job that they are physically able to do that job. For example, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds and Bernese Mountain Dogs need to be able to pull, so their bodies need to be strong enough and developed enough to do that job. Also, in Border Collies, they need to be large enough to move correctly and to allow them to work all day moving livestock.


Meg Callea

Shelton, Washington

100% yes! Most DQs have historic and or health reasons. In this day and age where rules don't apply, we need hard-core DQs to protect breed type. 


Barb Ewing

Las Vegas, New Mexico

In my breed, Borzoi, I wish we had height disqualifications. The upper suggested limit was taken out of our standard in 1972, and dogs have gotten too large to be functional. Individuals that are toward the bottom suggested limit are frequently penalized because they appear too small, even though they are comfortably above the minimum. The standard is clear that they’re not to be penalized unless under the limit. If we had height DQs, more judges would measure and learn what a correct size is. 


Sulie Greendale-Paveza

Fort Pierce, Florida

ABSOLUTELY! There are reasons for those disqualifications, most important is assuring the breed in question maintains the qualities and traits essential for it to perform the task it was bred to do, and assuring the breed will continue to be consistent in all physical aspects.


Judy Manley

Ashtabula, Ohio

I don't agree on a weight disqualification. You could have an excellent specimen of the breed who is DQed for a pound. I can't imagine dismissing a dog because it ate too much last week. A judge can see if a dog is overweight. They can carry the weight differently than another dog at the same weight. 

I understand the DQ for the size of a dog. If a height restriction is not kept, we have seen many breeds push the limits, and after time, the wrong size is considered acceptable. 


Amy Gordon

West Palm Beach, Florida

I wholeheartedly agree with the DQs in my breed’s standard (Miniature Schnauzer). We have a DQ for any color other than the three breed-standard colors. 

There is a historical reason for these three colors. Others have been introduced recently due to crossbreeding and fraudulent registrations. There are many breeders not breeding to standard but to the whim of the unknowledgeable pet-buying public. 

There is a size DQ: 12-14 inches below or above.

Our breed was not developed as a toy breed. There are many pet breeders who are marketing a “Toy” Schnauzer, again, to the unknowledgeable pet-buying public. And we are not Standard Schnauzers, so keep the upper size limit DQ to make sure the breed stays Miniature as opposed to almost Standard.


Concetta Jez

Somers, Connecticut

Absolutely! Actually, there should be more. The old breeders kept dogs out of the ring that were not an asset to their breed. Judges withheld points.

Today, anyone and everyone breeds. Many have no idea what is correct and do not want mentors. They often do not know the breed standard; instead they breed to change what is correct to what pleases them. It is all very sad.


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