|LINKS TO OPEN SHOWS|
Hyde & District CA 12
Boston & District Canine Society
Since receiving feedback from exhibitors and show organisers on how to give showing a boost, the Kennel Club has increased the allocation of CCs available in 2015.
The Kennel Club has now decided to make no reductions to the number of CCs allocated that year, and there will be no single CC allocations from 2015 onwards.
As a result, there will be an additional 34 sets of CCs available in 2015, and 13 breeds have had single CCs removed.
"During these times of economic uncertainty and difficult financial decisions for many people, the KC understands the need to show support to everyone involved in dog showing,” said spokesman Caroline Kisko today. "As a result, we have taken the decision to increase CCs in 2015 as an incentive for people to travel and enjoy their hobby.
"With show entries having fallen in recent years, had the KC strictly followed the usual criteria for allocating CCs this would have led to a reduction of 41 sets of CCs in 2015. Of these 41 sets of CCs, a large number of them were from breeds that traditionally attract high entries. The General Committee fully appreciates that deferring any such reductions is in the best interests of dog exhibitors and show societies alike.
"It is hoped that this will not just encourage more people to enter shows but will also prevent a ‘yo-yo’ affect in the number of CCs when the number of entries to championship shows begins to increase.”
The complete allocation to all clubs and societies is outlined in this month’s issue of the Kennel Gazette and will remain dependent on the club or society concerned running satisfactory shows in the years between, the KC says.
Secretaries have been told that all licence application forms and other relevant documents for their 2015 shows have been dispatched. Those who have not received their forms should contact the canine activities department services team on 0844 4633 980, ext 207.
The General Committee thought it would be beneficial if the usual process through which the KC allocates CCs was explained more fully.
"It is a complex one where many factors are taken into consideration,” Mrs Kisko said.
It starts when the entry statistics for all championship shows and breed club shows become available. Each breed is then placed in a band based on each breed’s average number of exhibits per show over the previous two full years. Each band is then compared to a scale to ascertain the number of CCs available, with the KC trying to ensure approximate parity across breeds and groups. For example, English Setters, Newfoundlands and Siberian Huskies are all allocated 30 sets of CCs as their average number of entries per show is similar.
The General Committee also considers recommendations for each breed and compares the suggested number of CCs against the previous year to ensure there are no dramatic increases or losses. It also takes into account any special circumstances, such as breeds which have only had championship status for a short period of time.
Allocating CCs across shows is then undertaken as a separate exercise.
"The General Committee endeavours where possible to balance various factors such as geography, the show calendar and the number of CCs in any particular group at individual shows, as well as trying to avoid taking away too many breeds from any individual show at any one time,” Mrs Kisko said.
The owner Exhibitor of the Pekingese who failed his high-profile breed veterinary check at Midland Counties said she felt ‘devastated and heartbroken’.
[Another example of the arrogance within the Veterinary Brigade. The dog and his devastated owner are to be denied their Champion status by Vet Simon Shanklin who refused to give a reason for failing the dog when questioned, citing 'confidentiality'.]
Veterinary associations have told an influential committee of MPs that the Dog Advisory Council should be made into a regulatory body and that legislation on dog breeding must be updated to ensure the future health and welfare of dogs and puppies.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) appeared before the House of Commons select committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EfraCom) yesterday (24 October) as part of the Committee’s Inquiry on Dog Control and Dog Welfare.
The session also covered: the veterinary profession’s role in improving dog welfare; the registration of puppies with the Kennel Club; line breeding, out breeding and the coefficient of inbreeding; veterinary checks at dog championship shows; breed standards; availability of research and data; the extent of puppy farming; and the sale of puppies on the internet.
Commenting after the session, BVA President Peter Jones said:
“The Dog Advisory Council, chaired by veterinary surgeon Professor Sheila Crispin, is doing a huge amount of good work already but at the moment it can only give advice and we believe it should be made into a regulatory body for dog welfare.
“While we recognise the good work that the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme is doing, this only affects a very small percentage of the puppies born every year in England. We need to look beyond the KC Scheme and ensure there is a robust registration scheme for all breeders that insists on minimum requirements in order to stamp out unscrupulous breeding practices.
“We know that in Wales and Northern Ireland a lot of work has already been carried out to review and update dog breeding legislation and we now want to see this happening in England.“
BSAVA President Mark Johnston said:
“The veterinary profession is doing a lot to highlight dog welfare issues but our frustration is that by the time someone comes in to the veterinary surgery with a new puppy it’s too late to tell the client that they may not have made the best choice.
“Education has an important role to play but this must also be backed up with strong legislation and a Dog Advisory Council that has teeth and resources.
“Many dog owners are working under the impression that Kennel Club registration is a mark of quality but this isn’t the case. KC registration doesn’t necessarily mean that health tests and socialisation have taken place and we believe that the KC should not be registering unhealthy puppies.
“The puppy buying public needs more help to understand how to select a happy, healthy puppy from a good breeder.”
BVA and BSAVA cited the AWF/RSPCA Puppy Contract as a positive measure to improve the level of understanding amongst both dog breeders and potential puppy buyers and handed out copies of the Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack to members of the Committee. www.puppycontract.org.uk
Kennel Club chairman Steve Dean came under fire from members of a Government committee who are looking into dog breeding and welfare.
Prof Dean explained that the KC ran under the Somerset House principle and registered all dogs.
The amount of entries at shows depends on the choice of judges. There is also the belief that a Professional Handler has the ear of a lot of Societies and has an unhealthy influence in the selection of Judges.
Steven Seymour recently wrote about the Kennel Club having a membership of 1,500 and of the KC not wanting to attract the wrong sort of person; “That would never do in the dining room at Clarges Street. Things are not just about dogs at the KC. They are equally about exclusion and perceived class. These people are not acting in the best interest of dogs and dogs alone, not for one single minute. Everything has a financial implication and also has a social implication.”
[Before continuing, it has to be said for those of you who may be worrying unnecessarily about me. I have never been given or indeed asked for anything from the Bourgeoisie at the Kennel Club or the Importants (should that be Impotents ?) from anywhere else. Therefore, there is nothing that they can take away from me.]
At a recent Kennel Club question time the Chairman of the KC [Prof Steve Dean] referred to the numerically weak turnout as possibly a sign that the KC is getting everything right. “GETTING IT RIGHT?” What planet is this arrogant man on!
I recently wrote about the Ethics of the Kennel Club appointing a Professional Handler to judge Best In Show at Crufts 2013. Out of the 86 Judges qualified to Judge Best In Show on the Kennel Club’s list, they chose a ‘Professional Handler’?
Kennel Club Directors
You could also get in touch with the Kennel Club Press Office by emailing any of the addresses below:
KENNEL CLUB PRESS OFFICE
If you think that this practice [Handlers judging, Handlers judging when their partners are exhibiting at the same show, Husband judging whilst their wife shows at the same show] is wrong, why not let the Chairman of The Kennel Club Professor Steve Dean know about your concerns. Below are his contact details:
Or, Contact Mr Corish directly and tell him if you think he should voluntarily give up Judging whilst he pursues a career in Handling. Below are his contact details:
Mr G Corish
Pekingese exhibitor talks about her high-profile breed co-ordinator role. Will she be the KC's Poodle?
She was Paul Pearce’s Hetana Angel (Holly), who has passed her French Bulldog Club of England’s bronze health certificate.
Cold And Windy
On Monday Mr Pearce said; "I can confirm that between being awarded BOB and going to the vet check my bitch’s eye had started to water. The cause may possibly have been attributed to the cold, windy weather, as indeed my own eyes were watering and feeling quite sore.
The Same Guidelines
"The vets all work to the same set of guidelines in order to help ensure consistency. It is important to remember that the purpose of the veterinary examination is to see if a dog is in pain or experiencing low-level discomfort as a result of exaggerated conformation, which is determined by the presence of visible signs of such suffering.
The world’s biggest dog show is set to get even bigger next year, following the announcement that overseas exhibitors are to be given the opportunity to compete in new classes being introduced at Crufts 2013.
Following the decision taken in January to introduce scheduled Any Variety classes in each group for breeds on the Kennel Club Imported Breed Register, the Kennel Club has announced that it will open these new classes up to those dogs winning specific awards at overseas Crufts qualifying shows too.
The awards which qualify dogs to compete in the Any Variety Imported Breed Register classes are the same as those specified for dogs competing in breed classes for fully recognised breeds. These can be found in the qualification document at www.crufts.org.uk/crufts-2013-qualification.
The list of overseas shows which qualify dogs for Crufts 2013 can be found at www.crufts.org.uk/overseasqualifyingshows. Any dog which won a relevant award at a qualifying show which has already taken place in 2012 is eligible to enter Crufts 2013.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “This is an exciting move, which will provide a great opportunity for many more dogs and people from around the world to come and take part in the world’s most famous dog show.
“There is no other event quite like Crufts and we look forward to welcoming potentially as many as 23 additional breeds to the show for the first time next year. There were almost 2,000 overseas dogs at Crufts 2012 and we hope that this move will attract an even bigger attendance from the international dog showing community.”
Qualifying dogs will only be eligible to enter the Any Variety Imported Register Classes for each group, which will be scheduled each day. However, the Best Any Variety winner will not be eligible to compete for Best in Group or Best in Show.
All dogs competing at Crufts 2013 must be registered with the Kennel Club or must have an Authority to Compete (ATC) number from the Kennel Club. For more information on how to obtain an ATC, please see www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/2757.
The breeds which may compete for the first time at Crufts 2013 are as follows:
The Kennel Club has written to veterinary surgeries across the country to remind them to report caesareans and operations carried out on Kennel Club registered dogs, in order to help monitor and improve pedigree health.
The letter reminds vets that any operations which alter the natural conformation of a Kennel Club registered dog should be reported, as owners will need to apply for permission to compete with that dog at Kennel Club licensed shows. Vets are also asked to report caesareans as the Kennel Club will not register a third litter from a bitch that has had two caesareans.
The information submitted by vets will ultimately help to improve the health of pedigree dogs as it ‘provides information regarding breeding lines which may pass on certain defects and helps to deter breeders from breeding from animals with hereditary problems.’
The letter informs vets that breeders sign a declaration when registering their litter with the Kennel Club, which means that the vet will never be breaching confidentiality when reporting such operations. The declaration says:
“I/we confirm and agree that any veterinary surgery performing a caesarian section and/or operation on any of my/our dogs in such a way that the operation alters the natural conformation of the dog or any part thereof may submit a report to the Kennel Club.”
The declaration, regarding the reporting of operations which change natural conformation, was made a condition of Kennel Club registration in 1990 and caesareans were added to the declaration in 2010.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The veterinary profession and the Kennel Club both hold valuable information about pedigree dogs but by sharing this information we will get a much more accurate picture about dog health.
Although some vets report operations to the Kennel Club this is not a uniform practice, but we hope this reminder will help to ensure that we work more closely together in the future.”
Vets have been sent a copy of the reporting form that they should use and the link to where the forms can be downloaded from the Kennel Club website www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/3310. The BVA has also produced a list of frequently asked questions about veterinary reporting at www.bva.co.uk/publications_and_resources/Forms.aspx.
Vets were also provided with a fridge magnet to help remind them of the pertinent details and the importance of the Kennel Club and vets working together to report and record operations.
More than half of veterinary practices in the UK still use manual registration systems despite electronic and online systems being quicker, easier and more accurate, Petlog has revealed.
The NEC has upgraded its parking facilities improving the visitor experience for Crufts 2013
The Kennel Club has been informed that, as part of a major programme of improvement works, the NEC has upgraded its parking facilities which will improve the visitor and exhibitor experience for Crufts 2013.
Professor Steve Dean called it “Our Kennel Club” at the speech he gave to the Welsh KC’s Dinner. He couldn’t have described it better. Yes it is most certainly theirs – it is not the grass roots exhibitors and breeder's club that’s for sure.
Don’t be fooled by Dean calling for more people to join the Kennel Club, it is total bullshit from him. What he really means is we need more ‘Gobshites’ to pay astronomical amounts of money to become meaningless members and get a silly cheap metal KC badge. Then to parade around displaying them as if they are above us mere mortals.
All contentious issues were covered by Kennel Club chairman Steve Dean in his speech at the Welsh Kennel Club’s annual dinner.
It was not surprising that the failure of six bests of breed at Crufts had stimulated a strong reaction from exhibitors, he said, ‘especially given the experience following coat testing at Crufts the previous year’.
"Much has been said already, sometimes factual and sometimes fanciful but it is sufficient to say here that this resulted in a debate at the AGM,” he said.
"There is disagreement about how widely veterinary checks should be applied, as well as with the process and timing. There is some confusion about how vet checks fit together with the current health schemes and genetic testing many breeds undergo.
"However, the key point is nobody seems to disagree that health checks are a good idea, with at least one group calling for them to go much further than the current system. Before considering how this might be done we will have to wait for the consultation to provide further information. "
He said that since Crufts, the BOBs had ‘consistently passed’ the check, and that failures had been ‘very few’. However, following his speech two failed at KC – the Neapolitan Mastiff and the Chow Chow.
"The simple fact is the dogs winning BOB in the high-profile breeds are passing because they are free from signs of ill health related to exaggerated conformation,” Prof Dean went on.
"In some sectors outside our world of dogs this has come as a surprise, but we should be delighted that the hard work put into reducing harmful exaggeration in these breeds has demonstrably borne fruit so rapidly.”
He went on, "Credit should be given to the breeds for their achievements."
"They have, understandably, not been happy about being placed on a high-profile list, but to their credit they have moved on and worked hard to improve breed quality and many are producing the evidence to show the extent – or otherwise – of health problems related to exaggerated conformation,” he said.
"We recently announced the removal of the Chinese Crested from the list and the KC has just appointed a new member of staff who has the responsibility of working with the remaining breeds to identify the information and data they need to produce to enable their status as a high-profile breed to be reviewed at the earliest opportunity.
"I look forward to the day when the high-profile breed list is redundant.”
Prof Dean said that in many ways the ‘veterinary check experience’ had illustrated the political challenge breeders and exhibitors faced.
"Outside agencies have tried to suggest that pedigree dogs are generally in poor health with some suggesting our dogs are mutants and dog showing should be banned. All living things are mutants in one way or another, but then I risk straying into a lecture on genetics and anatomy and this is not the place for that.
"We have to show that we are collectively in control of the health and welfare of registered pedigree dogs. There is no doubt that breed-associated diseases are a constant challenge, but those who put the blame solely on we who breed the registered pedigree dog miss the point about health and welfare entirely.
"As responsible breeders we can and do act on inherited disease because, thanks to the work of our KC and our breed clubs, we know a lot about dog breeding and the genetic history of our breeds. Inherited conditions in the crossbreed and mongrel are overlooked because of a naïve belief that they are by default without fault and healthy but chiefly because their ancestry is not recorded in any reliable way.
"However, we cannot ignore the criticism we receive and must prove that we are doing all we can to ensure the health of the breeds we cherish. The veterinary checks are a single step in that process and they have served to awaken a renewed imperative in the 14 breeds to pay attention to their perceived reputation for producing dogs with poor health.
"Their work and the successful outcome of the veterinary checks thus far has caused some of those who criticise the show ring as a poor influence on dog health to think again, but we have more to do before we are able to fully counter our critics’ views.”
Prof Dean said the General Committee had listened to criticism from exhibitors and show committees and had announced the end of the single CC, ‘even though the statistics show that they worked in increasing the entries of the smaller breeds’. Single CCs will be finally phased out in 2015, he said.
"And we have used our own version of quantitative easing so that, in 2014 and 2015 CCs will not be removed from breeds that are experiencing declining entries. However, this can only be a temporary measure to buy time for further discussion, if we are to preserve the value of the CC in the long term.
"Therefore, breed clubs and group and general championship shows will be asked to contribute to the debate about how we allocate CCs in the future to cater for breeds where entries are in decline while at the same time attempting to avoid unnecessary disruption of the show schedule for show committees and the exhibitor.
"In a similar vein, the General Committee agreed to trial a different approach to the requirement for compulsory benching. This followed the request from some of the smaller, one-day group championship shows for a more flexible approach.”
He explained that working groups are about to consider a two-tier registration system – as suggested at the KC’s AGM – which would identify dogs bred by exhibitors who ‘pay attention to health and welfare, above those who breed more generally’. Another working group will consider the ‘ongoing process’ for checking dog health before competition and how this might be improved and extended.
The consultation on coat-testing is nearing its end, he said, and the General Committee will consider that working group’s report in the autumn before making recommendations which will be presented at the next AGM.
Prof Dean told those present that he considered the most significant challenges to their hobby was still the economic climate and the social and political views about dogs and how these affected breeders and exhibitors..
"For the responsible breeder it is about finding sufficient good homes for puppies and dealing with the reputation they unjustly inherit from the actions of less responsible breeders,” he said. "For the exhibitor it is the cost of living increases, with car travel being a significant factor, limiting their financial ability to enter shows.
"For the show society the challenge is balancing the ever-rising cost of running an event against a declining level of entries. In addition, 2012 has added an environmental challenge for all outdoor event organisers in the shape of the weather – it has, let’s face it, been a difficult few months for dog shows.
"There is one other group of dog people worth mentioning, for the breed rescues are also suffering a significant strain on their resources as increasing numbers of dog owning-families have parted with their dogs as home economics turned sour.”
He said the General Committee was aware of the pressures and that the KC was working hard to help.
"I am becoming accustomed to being told we are moving too quickly on actions that people do not like and acting too slowly in areas where people think the answer is simple,” he said. "However, change takes planning and time to achieve and the issues are always broader than one might think at first glance.
"Nevertheless, as examples we have made some changes on CC allocations, benching requirements and removed some show fees. On the rescue front, our Charitable Trust has been quick to support a number of dog rescues, thus giving much-needed financial support to help them continue their important work of rehoming dogs. We will continue to look for areas where the financial burdens on dog shows and exhibitors can be contained, but the solution to the economic constraints we share with the rest of the world are beyond the KC’s remit.”
Over the past year there had been evidence that the KC was winning battles to change the political view on dog breeding, he said.
"There are significant signs that opinions have matured in several areas towards our point of view. The influence and opinion the KC has brought to the table at both the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) and the Dog Advisory Council has demonstrably modified attitudes in both forums. For example, there is increasing recognition of the positive contribution the pedigree dog breeder can and does achieve in terms of dog health and welfare.
"In addition, the responsible approach to dog breeding represented by our ABS and the work of our many breed rescue organisations has also been acknowledged.”
Speaking on puppy farming, he said, "Many struggled to distinguish between those who bred responsibly and those who did so commercially ‘with little interest in the health and future welfare of their dogs."
"Even within our own sport there is poor agreement over the definition of a puppy farmer, so there is clearly much work still to be done to root out the uncaring and encourage those who act in the interest of dogs,” he said. "The KC will always seek to support the responsible dog breeder and discourage irresponsible dog ownership and breeding.”
For the general public and many politicians and vets, he said, "Responsible breeders who registered their progeny with the KC are not ‘readily distinguishable’ from those who do not."
"As a result we are all tarred with the same brush and we have little choice other than to stand up and make sure the facts are clear to all,” he said. "The last APGAW report demonstrates how this message has been received. APGAW gives praise to the hard work of the KC and the many breed organisations that work with us. It also draws attention to the detrimental effect of puppy farming but then frustratingly proves their basic misunderstanding of the issues by proceeding to recommend actions that are heavily focused on the pedigree breeder rather than facing up to the larger challenge of irresponsible breeding.”
The political aspects of dog ownership could not be ignored, he went on.
"Our Government has plans to introduce a form of compulsory registration, based on the microchip in England, and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have their own similar plans, either in preparation or already in place.
"Your KC has been very active in discussing these plans with each of the authorities and with considerable success. These changes will affect breeders and owners and we cannot afford to ignore what is happening unless we are willing to live with the consequences.”
Society is quite correct in having an expectation that those who breed pedigree dogs should set the example for others to follow, he said.
"The KC provides the framework for those who wish to breed pedigree dogs and compete with them at shows and other canine activities. The registration system maintains the genealogy and Mate Select, Health Test Results Finder and Breed Watch demonstrate our commitment to breeding healthy dogs.
"The Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS) provides the standards necessary to endorse responsible breeding. Technical systems, such as Mate Select, are underpinned by the science developed at the KC Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust.
"All of these initiatives support us, as breeders and exhibitors, in our endeavours, but it is how we as dog people interact with these systems that will determine how well we are regarded in societal terms.”
"A significant difference could be made by doing two things." he said.
"Firstly, accept and recognise the value of microchips and the registration database microchipping can provide. Yes, there are issues to be resolved but the majority of dog owners already use the microchip and our own Petlog database is the largest in the UK dedicated to the primary purpose of reunifying the lost or stolen dog with its owner.
"In addition, by reliably identifying dogs, microchips also allow our health schemes to function efficiently and in the near future our various Governments are likely to make microchip ID compulsory.
"On the condition that microchips are not linked to an annual dog licence fee – and the current suggestion is it is not – we should all welcome this move. Microchips will help identify those who are breeding responsibly, and conversely those breeding irresponsibly; they will identify many of those who own or deliberately breed aggressive dogs; and they will assist the local authorities in removing dogs from irresponsible owners where necessary.
"A lack of a microchip will be self-evident and will rapidly become a deterrent to anybody who wants a dog but has little interest in their health or well-being. In effect it will be a major factor in levelling the playing field for those of us who care about dogs by putting all dog owners on the same map. At the veterinary level, with dogs being identified reliably, we will be able to show that the registered pedigree dog is bred with health and welfare in mind as well as identifying the true sources of poor health and welfare.”
He went on to urge people to join the ABS.
"Yes there are some challenges here too, but the political future is likely to give a breeder two choices – breed as part of the ABS system or, alternatively, under the control of a local authority. Both routes will permit breeders to register their dogs with the KC but which do you think will be regarded by the public as delivering the healthiest dogs with the assurance of being reared with care and attention?”
Prof Dean said he still found it hard to understand why every reputable breeder did not join the ABS.
"If it is not entirely delivering what you believe it should then change it from within, for it will not change without your input,” he said. "Many of us find owners for our puppies through our reputation and ABS does not change this.
"The ABS is an easy way to demonstrate to the public that those who breed responsibly are breeding to an agreed standard and care about their dogs, their health and welfare and their future.”
["We were, for 2 years, members of the Kennel Club Assured Breeders Scheme, however we have recently let our membership lapse as we routinely do more for our puppies than the scheme requires and over the whole 2 years we only heard from the Kennel Club when it was time to pay for membership renewal."] Ed.
He also encouraged people to join the KC, either as a full, affiliate or associate member; the latter two offer a route to full membership, as does being a long-standing Young Kennel Club member. None of those require the applicant to have a proposer and seconder, he stressed.
Prof Dean concluded by saying that the KC would defend responsible breeders wherever it could.
"Working together, we can prove the extreme criticism we face is largely groundless and go on to demonstrate why owning a registered pedigree dog is the best decision a new dog owner can make,” he said. "In achieving this I still maintain the best signal that we are getting close to success will be when I hear people describing the KC as ‘our Kennel Club’ and I remain committed to this ideal.”
General and group societies which hold one-day championship show with an anticipated entry of fewer than 1,200 dogs can apply to the KC for exemption.
The exemptions are subject to a two-year trial period and will start in 2014.
However, it is believed that in practice this would only apply to Hound Association of Scotland and Scottish Breeds shows. UK Toydog, National Terrier, Working and Pastoral Breeds of Wales, National Working and Pastoral Breeds, Hound Association, National Gundog, Gundog Society of Wales, Working and Pastoral Breeds of Scotland, Gundog Breeds Association of Scotland and BUBA all draw more than 1,200 dogs.
At its recent meeting, the KC’s General Committee considered a proposal from the KC’s benching working party suggesting that a small selection of such shows should be given the opportunity to apply for the exemption.
"In considering the proposal, the committee reaffirmed its position that benching was integral to maintaining safety and successful management at larger shows,” a KC spokesman said. "However, it debated the pros and cons of allowing smaller general and group championship shows to be held unbenched, and after consultation with both Bannerdown Benching and Danco Benching it was satisfied that with proper management and well thought-out risk assessments, the proposal was feasible.
"General and group championship shows which are held over more than one day do not qualify for exemption, even if they have fewer than 1,200 dogs per day.”
Societies which meet the criteria must submit a formal application which includes a detailed risk assessment, show layout and management structure, the KC says.
For more information
Belfast Dog Show Society have elected a new secretary. At a special general meeting on Monday, which was chaired by the president Ian Wilson, members elected Jackie Stubbs as the new hon secretary unopposed. Mr Stubbs previously served as secretary for three years until 2008. After he retired Alexa Brown took over. The new assistant treasurer is Jacquie Embleton, as Mr Stubbs has moved from this position and Andrea Stubbs was elected to the post of assistant secretary.
Belfast Dog Show Society, founded in 1880, is one of the oldest societies of its kind in the UK and Ireland and its general championship dog show is the only show in Ireland to be held under UK Kennel Club rules. It attracts visitors from across the island of Ireland, UK and Europe. The society also hosts an all breed open show each Easter.
Mr Stubbs, said: "The SGM was called due to the resignations of the hon secretary and assistant treasurer in June and was well supported by the members in a show of support for the society.”
At the committee meeting which followed, Robert Matthews was elected as chairman and Caroline Reynolds as vice chair.
Caroline Kisko wrote to the Canine Alliance following its invitation directly to Prof Dean (KC Chair) to attend an open meeting with Canine Alliance members who wish to discuss the current veterinary checks. Its invitation allowed for a date of his choosing.
In view of the importance of this matter, and given that Mrs Kisko’s letter had not dealt in any way with the invitation, the Alliance wrote again to Prof Dean seeking his response.
The steering group had hoped that he would give them some suggested dates when he would have the opportunity of engaging with the grass roots of our hobby.
On 20th June, Caroline Lee from the Kennel Club telephoned the Alliance Correspondence Secretary, claiming that Professor Dean had not received the original invitation and asking when the Alliance would like to meet with the Chairman. Later in that same telephone call, Ms Lee claimed that Professor Dean had actually taken the original invitation home with him!
Ms Lee assured its Correspondence Secretary that the KC Chair was not ignoring the Canine Alliance and apologized for the lack of a reply.
On 21st June, the Alliance received the following three line ‘reply’ from Prof Dean:
“The General Committee has referred the matter of Veterinary Health Checks and Caroline Kisko’s response was sent at my request. You can take this letter as my response to yours.”
The Alliance is, needless to say, alarmed and concerned at Professor Dean’s dismissive attitude of meeting with exhibitors and breeders, having previously made it known to its Chairman that it was his wish to do so. Alliance Secretary, Robert Harlow said,
“We find the KC Chair’s response to be rude and unacceptable. Like Mrs Kisko, he has failed to respond to our invitation directly. Prof Dean seems to display nothing but contempt for the many people (including Canine Alliance members) who have been working tirelessly to come up with acceptable alternatives to the controversial veterinary health checks of selected Best of Breed winners.”
Mr Harlow, himself a full Member of the KC, concluded:
“We are astounded that the Chairman of ‘our’ Kennel Club is proving so obstructive and will continue to ask that he meets with our members. It is important that the effective head of our governing body demonstrates a commitment to meet with those people whom his decisions affect most. The very survival of our hobby is at stake and we expect better of the KC and certainly of its appointed Chair.”
A spokesman for the KC said: "It is common practice for letters to be signed by the Kennel Club secretary, which is not dismissive but simply an efficient way of working – and is normal practice for many businesses. The KC is and intends to continue engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders and interested parties to ensure that the veterinary checks are as effective as possible - and that they achieve the aim that all dog exhibitors, vets, judges and the KC have in common, which is to ensure that show dogs are visibly healthy and set an example for others to follow.
Distressed and devastated Blackpool secretary Steve Hall has said that health and safety considerations were the reasons behind the abandonment of the show.
For the second time in four years Blackpool ch sh has been devastated by the weather. Today torrential rain and strong winds swept across the showground and some exhibitors waited up to three hours to be towed off the car park by tractor.
Mr Hall explained that the committee had reviewed all their options, including trying to secure alternative car parking space from a neighbouring farmer but their efforts were to no avail.
In 2008 the final day of Blackpool show was abandoned when gale force winds blew marquees away.
Mr Hall said that the committee had been left with no alternative but to abandon the show with the health and safety of exhibitors and judges the over riding priority.
The Canine Alliance has issued an invitation to the Kennel Club Chairman to attend an open meeting of its members.
The Kennel Club has responded to criticism by its German counterpart of the high-profile breed veterinary health checks.
"For a number of years now the KC has been concerned about conformational exaggeration in some breeds,” she wrote, particularly in light of issues raised in the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, which put dog showing and some breeds in danger of prohibition.
The German Kennel Club (VDH) has spoken out against the health checks, calling the new system "Flawed, Degrading And Insensitive."
The club’s official statement on the subject, which appeared in the latest edition of Unser Rasse Hund, the VDH’s official magazine, said it was ‘neither possible nor practical’ to perform a thorough clinical veterinary examination at a show, and it was the wrong place to do it.
The statement read: "For years now both the VDH and individual breed clubs have been open-minded towards findings in the fields of veterinary medicine and biology. Surely, in future, new techniques in DNA analysis and advanced diagnostic facilities will play an even more important part in selecting breeding stock. Therefore the dog fraternity appreciates the input of experts from outside our hobby. However, we do not support the recently introduced assessment of certain breeds which commenced at Crufts Dog Show this year 2012
"In our opinion it cannot be accepted that exhibitors travel from near and far to exhibit at the ‘greatest dog show in the world’, get awarded the most acclaimed award of best of breed only to be stripped of that award after a short examination by a vet. In our opinion this system is flawed for three different reasons:
2) It is neither possible nor practical to perform a thorough clinical veterinary examination at a dog show, and this is the wrong place to do it;
3) We believe it is degrading and insensitive for an exhibitor to be awarded best of breed only to be told later that the dog is not healthy.
In Germany we always believed that the suitability for breeding purposes has to be assessed separately from dog shows which are ‘beauty contests’. This is in sharp contrast to the UK where dogs can be bred from and get registered by the Kennel Club without the need for any tests or qualifications. We strongly believe that our system is more beneficial for the future health of purebred dogs, rather than picking 15 dogs out of 20,000 which can only have a very limited input on the gene pool of these breeds.”
At the National, the Neapolitan Mastiff best of breed failed her veterinary health check. Vet John Goodyear said she had ectropion and secondary conjunctivitis.
And in the toy group, owner of the Pug DCC winner, Joan Fox, decided not to challenge, leaving the bitch to win BOB by default.
The Neapolitan Mastiff involved was Steve Cox’s 18-month-old bitch Rayvonley Fabia. Mr Cox said he was very disappointed.
"She has very clean, near perfect eyes,” he said. "The judge, Bas Bosch, is a breed specialist and was pulling no punches when penalising for health issues. He said she was truly fantastic, with clear eyes etc.
"This bitch is homebred by myself and I am fully aware of the KC high-profile breed situation and have been working hard with many other breeders and enthusiasts for over two decades to continuously improve our breed where health is concerned. I am the chairman of the breed club and of course take our magnificent breed very seriously indeed.
"I took my finest, cleanest, most beautiful female, who has won in many countries as well as the UK, and after being hustled into what looked like some sort of meat wagon had the best of breed taken away. I’m not alone in having this happen, and it’s not nice and very unfair.
"I returned last week from travelling through Italy from where I brought back a couple of new dogs, and other countries are appalled at what’s going on over here.”
Ms Fox said she decided not to challenge for BOB with her Pug Pugnus Papageno at Dimrost because she disagreed with the way the health checks had been introduced.
"I’m not against the tests, just against the way they’re done,” she said. "It seems all wrong that at the end, when you’re so excited, you have to face the vet. I think it should be done before so you don’t have to face the embarrassment of being turned down, and the judge is not at risk of being embarrassed either.
"However, I shan’t be refusing to challenge again; this was just my futile little moment. Now I have to bite the bullet and go with the flow. I just felt sad about the whole thing when I should have been delighted to get a second CC with my dog.”
Mrs Fox made up her bitch recently and said she will put her through the health check at Scottish Kennel Club this weekend.
"I feel very strongly that the KC is going about this the wrong way and upsetting people who are genuine,” she said.
The BOB award at the National went instead to Elaine Arnold’s bitch, Snugglepug Glorious Black.
Meanwhile, in Dortmund at the KC’s German and British Festival Celebrating British Breeds’, the Clumber Spaniel who failed her health check at Crufts – Lana Levai’s Multi Ch Chervood Snowsun – won her third CC under UK judge Jenny Miller. Crufts chairman Gerald King said afterwards: "This was a one-off event celebrating British breeds with no group judging but simply a best British exhibit winner each day and an overall best British exhibit in show. In other words this would be similar to announcing a stakes winner for each day.
"The breed classes are like a breed club championship show and if any of the high-profile breeds won a third CC they will have to be examined by a vet in the UK before the title of champion is confirmed.”
At Crufts, this Clumber was selected for BOB by judge Ferelith Somerfield and was failed subsequently by vet Alison Skipper for ‘ectropion and secondary conjunctivitis’.
The Kennel Club has responded to each of the points which had been raised by Mike Gadsby, of the Canine Alliance, following a meeting at Clarges Street between members of the Alliance and two high profile members of the Kennel Club.
Mr Chairman The Pictures Below Were Taken On The Same Day At Crufts Thursday March 8.
The Canine Alliance, which was formed in the wake of the dog-showing community’s concern about the high-profile breeds’ veterinary checks at Crufts, held the first meeting of its steering committee on Wednesday.
There the group’s mission statement was agreed: ‘The Canine Alliance was formed to represent everyone involved with pedigree dogs, and to negotiate when necessary with any related organisations in the interest of all breeds. Its aims are to protect and support the well-being of pedigree dogs, to uphold the ethics of responsible dog breeding, to encourage health checking of all dogs and to allow the exhibition of pedigree dogs without bias or discrimination. ‘It pledges to be fair and totally transparent, always working for the benefit of pedigree dogs’.
At the meeting it was also agreed that the most appropriate structure for the Alliance was to be a company limited by guarantee, and this is being set up currently. The following officers were elected: chairman Martin Wyles, vice-chairman Andrew Brace and secretary Robert Harlow.
Earlier this week the Alliance – which has the slogan ‘Responsible for pedigree dogs’ – asked the Kennel Club to suspend the veterinary checks scheduled to take place at all general and group championship shows, saying they should not be reintroduced until they are ‘transparent, there is clarity and fairness, and they are non-discriminatory’.
However, earlier this week KC chairman Prof Steve Dean said the checks would continue ‘for the foreseeable future’. Mr Harlow said that the Alliance had been encouraged by a reply from the KC in response to the recommendations it made following an open meeting in which the KC invited representatives – who will be Mr Harlow, Mike Gadsby and Lisa Croft-Elliott – to meet secretary Caroline Kisko and executive of canine activities Kathryn Symns, an invitation which was immediately accepted, he added.
In less than seven days, 948 supporters have given donations to the Alliance and they have been granted a year’s membership. New members are being encouraged to join; the annual membership fee is £10 with a junior membership for those under 16 of £5. Membership can be paid through www.paypal.co.uk using credit or debit card or PayPal transfer, Mr Harlow said. Payment by this means should be made to email@example.com.
Cheques should be made payable to Canine Alliance Ltd and sent to the Canine Alliance Membership Secretary at 33 Stamford Road, Geddington, Northants NN14 1BB. Mr Harlow said:
"Obviously the Alliance is delighted with the support it has received in its infancy from all those allied to pedigree dogs. We seek to achieve a level playing field and fairness for all concerned. "The official Canine Alliance Facebook page is open to all.”
Kennel Club chairman Prof Steve Dean has responded to the ferocious criticism of the veterinary checks at Crufts, answering some of the questions posed by the Dog Press but still showing no signs of the KC weakening in its resolve.
The KC considered the list and reduced it to 14 breeds in line with available evidence in the UK. The Chinese Crested was added later because of concerns that cosmetic shaving or hair removal was causing skin damage.
Why have veterinary checks – the primary reason was to prevent dogs with clinical problems associated with exaggerated conformation competing in the group ring. Only healthy dogs should receive high awards.
The concept of a veterinary check is not new and was introduced three years ago at Crufts on a basis of referral by ringside observers. Breeds were observed from the ringside and BOB winners were referred to the vet if observers believed there was any sign of health or welfare problems arising from exaggerated conformation. In parallel, the results of judges and observers scoring for health and welfare of the high-profile breed in the show ring are reported in the Dog Health Group’s annual reports (2010 and 2011). These show how the ringside and the judge can disagree about a breed's health and welfare status.
In part this recognised the ongoing work to rectify some major problems in some breeds at that time. The General Committee, therefore, considered the recommendation from the Dog Health Group to make veterinary checks compulsory for the high-profile breeds and agreed this would start at Crufts 2012.
This would give the KC an opportunity to consult on the planned process and the form of the veterinary examination with the veterinary profession, breed clubs and the championship shows. Experience gained in the examination of dogs during the period of observer referrals was informative and contributed to the development of the procedure for the high profile breed veterinary check.
The HPB check was proposed to provide two potential outcomes. Either bests of breed would be free of clinical signs of breed related problems related to exaggeration and could progress to the group competition or, where clinical signs associated with pain or discomfort are detected, breeds would be excluded from further competition. In particular it was essential to focus any veterinary check on clinical signs associated with exaggerated conformation, thus avoiding subjective evaluation of excess. In short, there had to be evidence that an exaggeration was causing associated pathology.
Consequences Of Failure
Failure to pass a veterinary check is deemed to disqualify the dog from further competition (ie in the group ring). It was also decided that a dog would need to pass a veterinary inspection before a champion status is confirmed to ensure dogs that only won CCs at breed championship shows were not excluded from this initiative.
The 15 breeds were selected on the basis of risk – the likelihood of conditions occurring associated with conformational exaggeration. Each of the 14 breeds (excluding the Chinese Crested) is commonly linked with exaggerated conformation, generally accepted as leading to clinical signs of pain or discomfort on sufficient occasions as to cause concern. It is recognised that other breeds also have degrees of exaggeration but these are currently considered to be of a lesser risk due to the extent of the clinical consequences within these breeds. However, the KC has recognised this as an issue and is considering how breeds might be added or removed from the HPB list according to the general health assessment for each breed considered from time to time.
Breed Watch lists various concerns about health conditions in all breeds, including conformational issues and this is completed by the breed and judges. Breed Watch should be sufficient at this time for maintaining or improving the health and welfare of breeds not currently included on the HPB list. In short the risk to health is greater for the 15 listed breeds but breeds can be added to the list if a case is made that health and welfare is significantly compromised by exaggerated conformation.
The veterinary examination was first proposed in 2010 and modified throughout 2011 following consultation with breed clubs and vets. The detail is available on the KC website. In summary the examination is a visual and manual assessment of four main areas: adnexal eye conformation (ie eyelid conformation and other external tissues around the eyeball); respiratory efficiency and exercise tolerance; skin condition related to skin folds and other exaggerations such as ears and tails; and soundness on the move.
All four areas are commonly associated with perceived exaggeration in the HPBs. In each case associated clinical signs of pathology are looked for as an objective assessment of exaggerated conformation. It became evident during development of the scheme that eye defects would be the most difficult to assess. At first it was recommended that the presence of ectropion or entropion would be a disqualifying fault (for clarity, any visible haw is a sign ectropion exists).
However it was agreed, taking expert opinion, that some breeds do permit ‘a little haw’ and thus several breeds were likely to fail the vet checks repeatedly if this measure was strictly applied. Thus for the eye, typically the vet is expected to note any ocular pathology. For example inflammation of mucosae or white of the eye, scarring or pigmentation indicating chronic damage to the cornea, evidence of surgical intervention to the eyelids and significant overflow of tears (epiphora) or blepharospasm (eyelids squeezed shut).
All these signs would help establish if an eyelid malformation was capable of resulting in problems of pain or discomfort. Respiratory function is assessed by observing respiratory rate, ease of inhalation and expiration, tolerance to moderate exercise and the presence of respiratory noise. Skin folds and tightly curled tails are assessed by looking for associated inflammation or infection of the skin in the depth of the folds or scarring from previous infection.
The Process Of Checking
Specific areas for veterinary examination were provided in each of the four halls so that the distance a BOB needed to travel was minimised. This also prevented the regular veterinary area from becoming over-crowded and avoided the anticipated press interest compromising the usual work carried out there. The stewards used were experienced having helped with previous Crufts examinations. They were instructed to wait for the BOB to complete their post judging celebrations and to accompany the exhibit to the veterinary check area. Their job was to ensure the vet and the BOB met efficiently and to exclude press and other third parties from the process. After much debate it was decided to exclude everyone from the examination other than the owner/handler, a show official and the vet. Furthermore the results of examination are confidential – communicated only to the owner/handler and the KC. A copy of the report is retained by the vet.
Timing Of Examinations
It has been suggested the veterinary check took as long as 15 minutes and that this is unacceptable because the judge has only a few minutes to look at each dog. However, the time includes a conversation about the process to be followed and completion of a report copied to the KC, the owner and for the vet's records. 15 to 20 minutes on these first time veterinary checks seems reasonable and is consistent with the time taken to conduct previous checks carried out at Crufts. Why not use the Crufts veterinary team – The Crufts veterinary team are busy on occasions with the routine of veterinary duties at the show.
The KC decided to appoint a specific vet to conduct HPB checks, as we do with subsidised eye testing carried out each year in the veterinary centre. In addition, in the past the KC has been criticised that the vet used at Crufts in the past had potential conflicts of interest, being a member of the KC and a General Committee member. Therefore the KC sought help from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to appoint a suitable vet so that third parties would be reassured of the vet’s impartiality. The vets selected volunteered as a result of a letter from the BVA president in the Veterinary Record.
The past BVA president and the KC chairman selected the vets jointly using a brief curriculum vitae submitted by each applicant and agreed on the selections made. No suitable vet was able to attend on all four days and so two were selected to cover Crufts. Both are general practitioners with background experience of either veterinary duties at championship dog shows or with some historical experience of breeding and showing dogs. They are reasonable, sensible, experienced vets and I have every confidence that they followed their brief accurately and that their conclusions were valid.
Nine of the 15 breeds passed their health checks and six did not. The KC always stated that the details of the health check would be kept confidential. If however an owner, as some have done, chooses to make the report public that is their right to do so. It is clear that eye problems dominated the findings of the vets. Follow-up veterinary checks have been suggested to refute the findings of the Crufts examinations. This is understandable, as in many cases the clinical aspect may change over time. However, no certificates of examination have been presented to the KC and when they are we will investigate their findings further.
Apart from two dogs with ear inflammation (which was not used to disqualify any dog) there was no reported skin inflammation or infection related to skin folds or tail conformation. This is all good news and demonstrates that judges did put forward otherwise healthy dogs. However, some did have signals that their eye adnexa are causing problems.
A consistent finding in several breeds was the presence of eyelid defects (either entropion or ectropion) but in all cases signs of current inflammation or chronic damage was observed and linked to these conformational defects before a dog failed the veterinary check. The disputes arising from these findings indicate further consideration is necessary about how the problem of eyelid conformation is evaluated in all breeds in the show ring.
Consultation And Communication
Several meetings with show vets, breeds and show executives took place during 2011, including one session dedicated to the problems vets would be looking for, including the effects of poor eyelid conformation. Booklets were produced for the vets. There was also press coverage of the changes to the rules associated with veterinary checks.
Views On Initiative
It is very regrettable that we need to use a veterinary check before the BOB award can be confirmed at championship level and I feel very sorry for those whose dogs failed the check. However, it is important to realise that 15 high-profile breeds do have conformational exaggerations that have led to avoidable conditions causing pain or discomfort and this has to be unacceptable to all of us. Much work has been done by the breeds to move away from these exaggerations and in a remarkably short time.
As the KC, we have to provide the right framework to ensure dogs win at shows because they are typical of their breed and have good health. The veterinary check is just part of that framework and if breeders, exhibitors and judges play a full part, then the veterinary check should be a simple confirmatory procedure that could be dispensed with within a decade. However, we must recognise that some breeds will struggle with the veterinary check for some time to come.
Although six dogs failed they did so principally because of adnexal eye conformation, already well recognised in several breeds but the degree of their seriousness is not yet an agreed consensus. As a personal view, a dog with a sore eye is not much different to a dog with a sore skin or lameness.
What About Other Inherited Diseases
There are health schemes to deal with many inherited diseases and these will be considered in the show ring only if they produce observable clinical signs (eg lameness due to hip or elbow dysplasia).
320 dog people met at the National Motorcycle Museum, all concerned by the events at Crufts where six best of breed winners were excluded from the group judging, decided to form an organisation entitled the Canine Alliance to represent the views of breeders, judges and exhibitors.
Those present voted to invite the Kennel Club
1) To suspend the high-profile breed veterinary checks.
2) To agree that, on the available evidence from Crufts, the existing system is flawed.
3) Not to re-introduce the checks until they are transparent, there is clarity and fairness, and they are non-discriminatory.
The aim is that this will be a proposal at the KC's forthcoming annual meeting.
Those attending the meeting on Thursday evening at the National Motorcycle Museum included many senior breeders, exhibitors and judges, among them a large number from the six breeds whose winners were rejected. Of these, 61 were members of the KC and 108 members of the KC Assured Breeder Scheme. The meeting was chaired by Martin Wyles.
A steering committee of 14 was elected for the Alliance, whose strapline will be 'Responsible for Pedigree Dogs'. They are Andrew Brace, Joy Bradley, Lisa Croft-Elliott, Phil Freer, Mike Gadsby, Steve Hall, Robert Harlow, Stuart Mallard, Howard Ogden, Dianna Spavin, Tony Taylor, Susan Whitehead, Sigurd Wilberg and Martin Wyles.
In paragraph three of the directive below it states that in order for a dog - if failed by the Vets - to be declared a champion it must undergo a successful Veterinary Examination at a Group or General Championship Show.
The directive below was issued January 6, 2011.
Vet Checks For High Profile Breeds At Crufts 2012 And Championship Shows Thereafter
The Kennel Club has announced that all dogs of the fifteen high profile breeds which win Best of Breed at Crufts 2012 and at General and Group Championship Shows after that, will need to be given a clean bill of health by the show veterinary surgeon before their Best of Breed awards are confirmed and before they are allowed to continue to compete at the show. This requirement is designed to improve canine health and protect the sport of dog showing.
The move, which will become effective from March 2012, was taken by the General Committee on the advice of the Kennel Club Dog Health Group, in order to ensure that the fifteen high profile breeds, some of which suffer from health issues and which attract the greatest criticism, do not bring the whole hobby of dog showing into disrepute.
In addition, before the Champion title of any dog or bitch within these breeds can be confirmed, that dog will have to undergo a successful veterinary examination at a Group or General Championship Show.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “There are 195 breeds whose participation in the hobby of dog showing is overshadowed by the small minority of people within some high profile breeds who seem to continue to breed, and occasionally reward, unhealthy dogs and who by so doing are bringing down the reputation of the hobby and the rest of the dog showing fraternity.
“The Kennel Club must ensure, for the future prospects of dog showing and for the good of dogs, that only healthy dogs go home from dog shows with prizes.
“This action will not only protect the reputation of the majority of dog showing people who put the health and welfare of their dogs first and foremost, but it will also continue to encourage improvement within the high profile breeds themselves, ensuring that the healthiest are justly held up as an example for others to follow.”
The changes, which will become active from 2012, come after measures were put in place in 2009 to try to ensure that only healthy dogs are rewarded in the show ring. Judges now have the power to remove dogs that look unhealthy from competition and show monitors can also ask show veterinary surgeons to determine whether a dog is healthy enough to continue competing. These existing requirements will continue to be in place at dfs Crufts 2011.
Ronnie Irving, Kennel Club Chairman, said: “The majority of people involved in showing dogs, including the 15 high profile breeds, are doing a good job in moving their breed forward and many judges are ensuring that health is paramount when they judge. This work should be applauded and recognised.
“Sadly though, a few judges in some breeds simply can’t or won’t accept the need to eliminate from top awards, dogs which are visibly unhealthy. Neither we who show dogs, nor the Kennel Club which must protect our hobby, can reasonably allow that state of affairs to continue. I hope also that monitoring the results of this exercise may even, in time, enable us to drop from the ‘high profile’ list some of those breeds which prove to have a clean bill of health.
“This move, along with the other health measures that we have put in place will help the Kennel Club to ensure that the show ring is, as Professor Patrick Bateson said it can be: a positive lever for change in the world of dogs.”
Professor Steve Dean, Crufts Committee member and Senior Veterinary Surgeon, and a member of the Kennel Club General Committee, said of the new requirements: “The guidance which we will issue to Show Vets will focus on clinical signs associated with pain or discomfort which will come under the main headings of external eye disease, lameness, skin disorders and breathing difficulty. The show veterinary surgeons will be looking for signs such as ectropion, entropion, corneal damage, dermatitis, breathing difficulty on moderate exercise, and lameness. The fifteenth breed is the Chinese Crested where the principal issue will be the presence of skin damage arising from hair removal and thus signs of clipper rash or chemical insults to the skin will be looked for.
"It is not intended for the vet to act in any way as a show judge of conformation. Veterinary opinion will only lead to disqualification of a dog from further competition where there is clinical evidence of disease. Perhaps the only arguable exceptions are ectropion and entropion as both are conformatory defects of the eyelid, but both conditions are closely associated with chronic conjunctival inflammation or corneal damage and thus they will be disqualifying signs in their own right.
"By giving dog exhibitors and judges 12 months notice of the intent to have a veterinary surgeon examine the Best of Breed from each of the high profile breeds, we hope that judges will ensure that only healthy exhibits will come forward. Therefore the number of times dogs are excluded from the Group following veterinary examination should be minimal. For some of the breeds this will still be a huge challenge but the intent is to improve the overall health and welfare of dogs and if this measure helps achieve this then it has to be a step in the right direction."
The Kennel Club confirmed that the detailed regulations to give effect to these new moves are currently being developed and will be published in due course.
From The Chairman
1. The fifteen high profile breeds are as follows: Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Clumber Spaniel, Dogue De Bordeaux, German Shepherd Dog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, Shar Pei, St Bernard, French Bulldog, Pug and Chinese Crested.
2. Show vets will be given clear guidelines on the issues that need to be considered in deciding whether or not to allow a dog to proceed further into the Group competition. The vets will be directed only to prevent dogs from going forward if they are suffering from some clinical problem which obviously adversely affects the dog’s wellbeing. They will not be permitted to exclude dogs merely for aesthetic reasons or because of exaggerations alone, unless these are causing the dog some adverse clinical effect on its health or welfare.
3. An exploratory meeting to establish the practicalities of these issues has already been held with a number of established show vets. This has been extremely helpful to the Kennel Club in planning for the detailed regulations which will have to be introduced to give effect to this new requirement.
When Pedigree Dogs Exposed made the purebred dog world feel isolated and shunned, the Kennel Club’s high-profile veterinary checks at Crufts appear to have caused it to implode.
High Profile breeders and exhibitors, sometimes with top-winning and champion dogs from the UK and abroad, and respected and experienced judges all feel saddened, furious and slighted in equal proportions that their dogs or preferences were deemed unworthy choices as best of breed.
In the end, six of the 15 breeds failed, and although the exhibitors were allowed to keep the CCs or best of sex awards they were not allowed to take their dogs through to the group and be judged in the main ring.
Afterwards, Zena Thorn Andrews, who judged Basset Hounds, said the KC had ‘shot itself in the foot’.
"It has done more harm than good,” she said, "and has brought to the public’s attention six breeds and said they are all unhealthy – even the best specimens.”
One exhibitor said the KC had ‘sacrificed its top breeders to the whim of Jemima Harrison’ and that she would never show or judge again as long as the ‘current regime’ was in place.
One of the exhibitors’ main beefs was that a light in the eyes of at least two of the breeds he checked despite the fact that the KC had assured everyone ahead of the show that no apparatus would be used and the dog would be assessed in exactly the same way as the judge in the ring.
The vets said the Bulldog and Peke had marks in their eyes, and the Clumber, Mastiff, Neapolitan and Basset were deemed to have ectropion and secondary conjunctivitis. Basset BOB was Ch Buzz Lightyear at Dereheath, owned by Accredited Breeders Heather and Derek Storton who now say they are throwing in the towel.
"I feel completely gutted and shellshocked,” Mrs Storton said. "I have been in dogs and trying to breed healthy dogs for 20 years, and now my life’s work appears to be worthless.
"It’s the arrogance of the KC. They have sacrificed their top breeders to the whim of Jemima Harrison. Someone from the KC said that in two years’ time we would be pleased they had done this – but we have been trying to breed the right dogs for years. How dare you!
"I feel the KC treated us as sacrificial lambs.”
Mrs Storton has made up 16 British champions and this was Buzz’s eighth CC.
"He’s never had a day’s illness and is one of the best dogs we’ve had,” she said. "He was top male in the breed in 2010.
"Unless this is changed we won’t be entering any more shows – seriously. I won’t take another dog to a show as I have no intention of going through this again with any dog. Why would I do this as a hobby and then risk more embarrassment? I’m not going to another show under the current regime.”
Mrs Thorn Andrews said that if the KC continued with the checks they should be carried out by vets involved with the dog world.
"They are not going to ruin their reputation but putting through unhealthy dogs,” she said. "Nit-picking about tiny bit of red or a scratch is untenable and doesn’t help to improve health.
"I think KC has shot itself in the foot once again. I will continue to judge – it will all blow over – but it has done the dog world more harm than good and brought to the public’s attention six breeds and said they are all unhealthy – even the best specimens.”
The Peke, judged by Bert Easdon, who failed on Thursday was Jim and Jean Smith’s Palacegarden Bianca. The next day they took her to their own vet to be assessed.
"We feel we have been thrown to the wolves,” Mr Smith said. "We didn’t think the examination was carried out fairly because they shone a light in Bianca’s eyes and the judge doesn’t do that.
"The vet said he could see a mark that he thought was the beginning of an ulcer. But my vet has given her a clean bill of health and said she was suffering from no ocular discomfort at all.”
The Bulldog, judged by Pat Perkins, was Mark Lee’s Ch Mellowmood One In A Million, one of the year’s top-winning bitches. He was unavailable for comment but we understand that the breed council was supporting Mr Lee and Mrs Perkins.
The Clumber from Croatia was Lana Levai’s Multi Ch Chervood Snowsun, judged by
"It’s a very big shame for the KC,” she said. "My bitch has had every health check done – eye, hips, elbow, everything is clear. I come from a little country and Crufts was the number one show for me, but not any more. This is my last entry in the UK. The whole of Europe and the US know this bitch but apparently only the British KC knows what a healthy Clumber is. I will tell people in Europe not to come to Crufts.”
Mrs Levai took her Clumber to her own vet on Sunday who reported that both eyes were normal ‘without any discomfort or inflammation and cornea transparent and oval. No pathological or degenerative change’.
The dogs who failed their vet test on Saturday were the Mastiff, Diana Yemm’s Ch Secret Charm Avec Dibest, who was BOB at Crufts two years ago, and the Neapolitan Mastiff, Sonja Smidova's Lux/Slo Ch Ithani from Belgium, judged by Jeff Horswell. Similarly to the Clumber Spaniel on Friday, the Mastiff, judged by Sarah Windham, and the Neapolitan, judged by Jeff Horswell, were failed for showing signs of ectropion with secondary conjunctivitis, according to vet Alison Skipper.
"I’ve never had to take her to the vet and she’s ever had anything wrong with her eyes,” said Mrs Yemm. "They’ve never caused her problem.
"The vet at Crufts said her eyes were slightly inflamed but I don’t see how she is not fit for function. The vet said the problem was very slight.
"She was BOB at Crufts two years ago. I agree with improving things but not way KC going about it. I’m very disappointed.”
Exhibitors and breeders unhappy with the way the checks were handled are due to attend a meeting in the Midlands on Thursday at 6pm in the Britannia Suite of the National Motorcycle Museum near the NEC. As a result of a Facebook campaign called Exhibitors Voice and Choice, which was launched on Sunday evening, the meeting will give exhibitors a chance to air their views.The Facebook group says the meeting will ‘discuss the implications of the health checks carried out at Crufts and arrive at some conclusions which would be forwarded to the KC’.
Andrew Brace says on the group: "Everyone who is passionate about our sport is requested to attend – regardless of what breed you have. This affects everyone.”
Dog Show exhibitors and breeders alike who are unhappy with the way the Kennel Club’s health checks on the 15 so-called high-profile breeds were handled at Crufts are invited to attend a meeting in the Midlands on Thursday evening.
As the result of a Facebook campaign called ‘Exhibitors Voice and Choice’, launched on Sunday night, a meeting has been arranged to let exhibitors sound off about what happened at Crufts when six breeds were banned from competing for the group after failing the newly-introduced veterinary checks after winning best of breed.
The meeting is set to take place from 6pm on Thursday in the Britannia Suite at the National Motorcycle Museum located close to the NEC where Crufts took place. The announcement on the Facebook group says the meeting will ‘discuss the implications of the health checks carried out at Crufts and arrive at some conclusions which would be forwarded to the KC’.
Andrew Brace says on the group: "Everyone who is passionate about our sport is requested to attend – regardless of what breed you have. This affects everyone.”
Emotions on the Facebook group are running high, with some commentators particularly upset that some of the UK’s most experienced and well-respected judges had their decisions overturned.
PROFESSIONAL HANDLER/PROFESSIONAL JUDGE
It is undeniable that the BBC program ‘Pedigree Dog Exposed’ did incalculable damage to the reputation of the Kennel Club. Moreover, as I understand it there was a considerable financial loss too. The last thing that the Kennel Club needs is another investigation into unethical practises.
At Crufts Dog Show 2012 there was a glaring conflict of interests that has been allowed to develop over a number of years at The Kennel Club; and this is Professional Handlers judging, and who also judge at the highest level. It has been creeping in for a number of years and is now seemingly regarded as the norm. This practice is profoundly wrong. It is unethical and amoral, open to nepotism and worse still open to corruption. A clear conflict of interests arises when a Professional Handler becomes a Professional Judge and juggles the two jobs throughout the show season.
The reason for this open letter to you Mr Chairman is that the United Kingdom Pedigree Show Dogs scene and all that goes with it, is controlled by The Kennel Club monopoly. And, clearly all of the Dog Societies in the UK look to the Kennel Club for guidance, example and inspiration.
The Kennel Club announced some time ago that they have invited a Professional Judge who is also a Professional Handler, to judge Best In Show at Crufts Dog Show 2013. The same Judge/Handler has Judged the Utility Group at Crufts 2012 and has many more engagements including the Terrier group at City Of Birmingham in september. This particular Professional Handler boasts that he awards CCs in 35 different breeds from seven different Groups. Why has this been allowed to happen within the Kennel Club?
The American Kennel Club does not allow this practice because it can be open to corruption among many other things as well.
The policy of the AKC is:
"All individuals who apply to judge must comply with the American Kennel Club’s Occupational Eligibility Addendum. New judges as well as those currently approved and applying for additional breeds must sign this addendum stating that they have read and understand this requirement and agree to abide by it. Included within this document is AKC’s policy in regard to the approval of handlers to judge. Persons who show dogs for others will not be approved if still engaged in such activities. In addition, persons who reside in the same household as a professional handler or one who handles dogs for others will not be approved to judge. The only exception for this policy is that persons may be approved to judge Junior Showmanship only if they exhibit dog for others."
Mr Chairman, isn’t now the time to remove this absurd practice that is clearly open to accusations of ‘Venality’? Genuine Leadership is needed here – not the ‘Pusillanimous’ one shown by your predecessor.
The Kennel Club has announced an important new requirement which will affect exhibitors competing at Crufts next month, and all other dog shows with immediate effect.
FAQs for identification of crates/cages
Three Years On from 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed', the sequel to the original programme, is to be screened the week before Crufts. The exact date has yet to be anounced.
Dog health and responsible breeding continue to be at the forefront of the Kennel Club’s activities in 2012, with the latest changes to the Assured Breeder Scheme now announced.