From the original thread -
Genetics 101. The closeness of the breeding partners has far less to do with genetic disease than the genetic potential of the partners. Yes, if they are closely related it makes it somewhat more likely to carry the same problems but since humans have spent hundreds of years ignoring their genetic potentials, lack of close relationship doesn’t help much. For example, my parents - both their families go back to Ireland, but they are not at all related as far back as I can go. Yet I still inherited asthma, food and inhalant allergies, RA, low blood pressure, extremely poor eyesight and hip dysplasia. My husbands parents came from different parts of the world, yet he inherited flat feet, alcoholism, tobacco addition, a weird skin disorder that I’ve forgotten the name of and a tendon disorder that I have also forgotten the name of.
Compare that to my line of purebred dogs - almost all test clear and of those that don’t, have problems that would be invisible to the average pet owner and they live long, healthy lives. And that isn’t because of luck, it’s because I have selected for health and the fact that I linebreed means it’s more likely I’ll hold onto it, since the line is more homogenous for good traits than most outside blood.
The standards are not purely arbitrary - if nothing else, most were written to describe the breed as it conformed to whatever original job it had. There isn’t much in the way of glory in dog shows, since most of us lose on any given day and the only cold hard cash involved is going out. Showing dogs is not as expensive as showing horses, but it’s working on it. Most of the dogs you see on TV are being handled by pros, for $150 - $200 a day plus expenses, entries are $25-$30 a day a dog and then you factor in gas, food, hotels and all the stuff needed to support a show dog.
For another personal example, I went to three obedience trials in Phoenix last weekend (performance tends to be cheaper than conformation). Entries were $100 for the weekend, another $25 to stay on the grounds overnight in my trailer, gas was $75 and food was $50. $250 to win some 2 cent ribbons and some dog toys and treats. No money, no glory and no vanity, just the opportunity to compete with friends, sit around and talk and watch some good dog work.
Puppy mills make cold hard cash, “designer dog” breeders make cold hard cash. Those who show at the level of Westminster PAY cold hard cash to do their hobby.