I very much appreciate most of the commentary and debate in this thread. I too, like most of you, couldn't believe what I was seeing when I saw the picture of that poor bitch. This is just me, but my first thoughts were "that poor animal is destined for early joint problems and a shortened life".
I haven't read every single post, so if this has already been mentioned, please forgive the redundancy.
Perhaps what I find the most troubling is that weight issues in dogs, much like in people, shorten their lives. No respectable breeder, owner, judge - whomever - should promote something so directly contrary to good health and longevity. There is some science behind this, for those that need to see it in writing rather than rely on a healthy dose of common sense. While the Purina 14 yr life-span study is somewhat long in the tooth (2002), I don't believe that the fundamental conclusion has changed: being overweight shortens a dog's life. Period. How appropriate that the study population was Labrador retrievers.
"Median life span was increased by 1.8 years, or 15 percent, in the lean-fed dogs compared to the control dogs. Median life span (age at which 50 percent of the dogs in the group had died) was 11.2 years in the control group compared to 13 years in the lean-fed group."
The original study: