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Common Sense At Last Now Tackle The Professional Handlers Judging Issue

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.

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Vet Mr Shanklin Said He Would Not Comment On Individual Cases

The owner Exhibitor of the Pekingese who failed his high-profile breed veterinary check at Midland Counties said she felt ‘devastated and heartbroken’.

Andrea Livesey – co-owner with her husband Stuart – did not want to give the reason why 21-month-old Livanda Faberge had failed but said she had presented him for the check because he had just gained his third CC, and dogs of high-profile breeds must pass a check to become a champion officially.

All Faberge’s CCs came from breed shows – he was BIS at the Pekingese Club under Mike Mays, BIS at Birmingham Pekingese Association under Crufts chief vet Dr Andreas Schemel and BIS at the British Pekingese Club under Ann Offiler. Faberge was top Pekingese puppy last year and was a Pup of the Year finalist.

The vet officiating at Midland Counties was Simon Shanklin of Haygate Veterinary Centre in Telford who, Mrs Livesey said, conducted a 15-minute examination of her dog.

"He said he might have passed another day but today he was going to fail him,” she said. "I went into the show confident and came out devastated.

"This dog has done an awful lot of winning and I feel heartbroken. We show our dogs for pleasure and the breed has really been going out of its way to try to improve.

"I don’t know whether I will take him to another show; I’m going to wait and see how I feel. I’m not sure I want to put myself through that again. It really, really broke my heart.

"He’s still a champion in our eyes and has fulfilled the criteria to be one.”
Vet Mr Shanklin said he would not comment on individual cases as he considered them confidential.

[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'.]

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AN INTELIGENT VIEW OF THE REAL WORLD SIC Steven Seymour

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BETTER REGULATION OF DOG BREEDING NEEDED IN ENGLAND VETS TELL COMMITTEE

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

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EFRA: KC Chairman Under Fire On Registration Of ‘Unhealthy’ Dogs
KC Accused Of Perpetuating Problems

Kennel Club chairman Steve Dean came under fire from members of a Government committee who are looking into dog breeding and welfare.

He was asked why the KC did not refuse to register unhealthy dogs and his answers seemed not to satisfy MPs who suggested that the club should be using its influence to better effect.

Prof Steve Dean was at the House of Commons to answer questions from MPs sitting on the Environment Food and Rural Affairs committee. He was accompanied by Dachshund breed council chairman Ian Seath. Also called to give evidence were Dog Advisory Council (DAC) chairman Sheila Crispin and Sir Patrick Bateson, who conducted the independent enquiry into breeding.

The EFRA committee began its canine enquiry – which is also covering dog control – in May.
The toughest questioning came at the end when committee chairman Anne McIntosh and Neil Parish, chairman of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare quizzed Prof Dean on the KC’s work, asking whether the KC should refuse to register unhealthy dogs.

Prof Dean explained that the KC ran under the Somerset House principle and registered all dogs.
"If we don’t register them they still exist and would be outside our banner,” he said. "We know about pedigree dogs because we register all breeds so we track a dog’s parentage etc.

"So to start refusing to register a certain group of dogs would mean they would just go underground. It’s better to know where they are and do something about it.”

Miss McIntosh seemed dissatisfied and unhappy with his answer. Surely it was incumbent on the KC to adopt a mechanism which would deal with irresponsible breeders, she suggested. And committee member George Eustice suggested that refusing to register a dog would act as a deterrent to bad practices.

But this was ‘over-simplification’, Prof Dean said. The KC had already made it clear that if a dog was unhealthy it should not be bred from, he said, although it depended on the extent of the disease throughout that breed.

"It is far too simplistic to draw a line and say one side of a disease you can’t register and the other side you can,” he went on. "If a dog is a carrier it is still a healthy dog, and if you have a breed in which 70 per cent are carriers – which we have with the Bedlington Terrier and liver toxicosis – with careful breeding you can eliminate the disease and never breed an unhealthy dog.

"That’s the way we do it. I don’t think the KC community is at issue here; I think it’s the puppy farmers who are not interested in health checking or inherited disease; they just churn puppies out.”

Mr Parish said: "I still have a slight disagreement. If a dog is bred with a deformity, once it is registered by the KC the public will see that and say to themselves, ‘That is fine by the KC’.

"You are perpetuating the problem and could be much firmer, and I still think the KC could use its influence better.”

Prof Dean said he understood what he meant, but repeated that he believed this view was over-simplification.

"We have the ABS which is the best way to ensure that healthy puppies are produced,” he said. "And we all sit here with at least ten defects, so talking about it like this doesn’t work.”

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Townsend Says That Shows Are Not A Major Source Of Income For The KC

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.

Exhibitors are getting fed up with the same old faces, it was claimed at the Kennel Club’s question time in Kent last week.

The KC's panel had been asked what societies could do to reverse the decline in entries at the majority of shows.

The simple fact was, said chairman Steve Dean, to murmurs of agreement from the audience, the popularity of a show depended on the exhibitor’s experience when they go, and that was driven largely by the choice of judge.

"When shows set about choosing good judges they get good entries,” he said. "We can look at the way judges are appointed but it’s a very complex issue and we have quite a few on our plate at the moment.”
Some societies did not do a good job of producing judges’ lists, while others did ‘an outstanding job’, he went on.

The same people are judging all the time, said a member of the audience, adding that most exhibitors had no influence on show societies’ choices.

The KC’s canine activities executive Kathryn Symns said exhibitors could write to the show committees, or collectively through a breed club. But these letters are ignored, came the response; championship show societies had too much power over the choice of judge and that was ‘all wrong’.

There was a group of judges that judged year in, year out, the speaker said; that was why entries had fallen ‘and that’s what’s wrong with championship shows’.

Prof Dean asked how the two sides could be brought together.

Members of the audience suggested an open meeting be staged to which all the ch show secretaries could be invited, or the judges’ names removed and added by rotation.

Some judges were officiating over breeds they had not judged for 20 years, one said. "Some action is needed.”

"I’m sure that the shows are just as keen to solve this problem,” Prof Dean said. "They need the entries to stay viable; we need to have this discussion.

"We will attempt to act as the catalyst and attempt to bring the two sides together.”

Vice-chairman Mike Townsend said the KC has had ‘at least’ two working parties examining the impact of falling numbers on shows and how that might be stemmed or reversed.

"These working parties comprise people from the KC and the show world,” he said. "And the conclusion they have reached so far is that short of sponsoring everything, which is not feasible, a huge responsibility lies with the shows.”

Some societies were diversifying and bringing in new elements to their shows, such as have-a-go agility or obedience, he said.

"And not surprisingly these are tending to do better than shows who carry on the same,” he said.

"We have examined suggestions and ideas and we think the majority of these are implementable by the show societies themselves.”

Shows were not a major source of income for the KC, Mr Townsend said, but it was doing its bit by experimenting with doing away with benching, which the KC knows to be a financial drain, although so far only at smaller shows.

"We are conscious of the problem but we don’t have a magic bullet,” he said.

Prof Dean said the KC had also removed additional minor fees for some shows.

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Exposure Is Unpleasant For Some; They Hate It Along With The Whistleblowers.

Once The Toothpaste Is Out Of The Tube It’s A Bastard To Get It Back In.

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.”
Les Crawley was upset by those words and disagrees with Steven Seymour.
Crawley says that he has been a member of the Kennel Club for 29 years; has not been to Public School; has neither academic nor professional qualifications. He also says that he has broadcast on local BBC radio on dogs for twenty years and presented the BBC TV Crufts programs…Wow! Altogether now;
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee; How great thou art, How great thou art…I wonder does he [Crawley] have one of those fancy aprons with Builders Symbols embroidered on it to complement his KC membership?

[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!
Does the arrogant Dean regard us mere mortals as unwelcome and unsightly as
Pubic Hairs on a lavatory seat? Well I say this to the arrogant Chairman Dean;
Pubic Hairs On Lavatory Seats Eventually Get Pissed Off.
“Our Kennel Club” Dean said at the Welsh KC dinner – methinks he’s been reading too many speeches by Prime Minister “We’re all in this together” Cameron.
Another lying bastard!

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’?
I would like to know just who proposed and seconded this man [Geoff Corish] when clearly there is a conflict of interests in what he does. Who was the proposer and seconder of this appointment to judge BIS at Crufts 2013 and more poignantly, what were their motives in putting forward a Professional Handler?
And, after he [Corish] has fulfilled his appointment at Crufts and then goes back to his handling; what about the pressure that prospective Judges will be under to ‘Put Him Up’? Notwithstanding the fact that he is known for ‘Bullying’ Judges who have not awarded him Best Of Breed with certain dogs in the past.
I highlighted in my last update the practice of Corish and Coad and the Irvings exhibiting their animals whilst their respective partners were judging at the same show. Will the Kennel Club Hierarchy [which Irving is a member of] do anything about these shitty goings on?
Dog World had an opinion on this too. However, Sheila Atter and Jane Lilley wrote articles in a fashion that can only be described as twee – they were almost apologetic for Corish, Coad and the Irvings.

Why not write to the other Directors of The Kennel Club and ask them to have a word with the Chairman; maybe he’ll listen to them. Listings Below:

Kennel Club Directors

HELEN FOX
17A HUGON ROAD
FULHAM
LONDON SW6 3HB
& Flat 10 Cedar Court
Sheen Lane
London
United Kingdom
SW14 8LY

DOUGLAS HOLFORD
37 HALL GREEN LANE
HUTTON ESSEX CM13 2QU

GERALD KING
43 HOLMWOOD ROAD
CHEAM
SURREY SM2 7JP

CAROLINE KISKO
THE GATE HOUSE
RUSHBROOKE LANE
BURY ST. EDMUNDS
SUFFOLK IP33 2RR

SIMON LUXMOORE
HUSHWING BARN MAGDALEN HIGH ROAD
WIGGENHALL ST. MARY MAGDALEN
KINGS LYNN
NORFOLK PE34 3BG
simon.luxmoore@btinternet.com

ROSEMARY SMART
95 NEW STREET HILL
BROMLEY
KENT BR1 5BA

MICHAEL TOWNSEND
HAWTHORNS
OAKLEY ROAD
CHELTENHAM
GLOUCESTERSHIRE GL52 6NZ

You could also get in touch with the Kennel Club Press Office by emailing any of the addresses below:

KENNEL CLUB PRESS OFFICE

bill.lambert@thekennelclub.org.uk
heidi.ancell@thekennelclub.org.uk
laura.quickfall@thekennelclub.org.uk
natalie.llewellyn@thekennelclub.org.uk
victoria.brown@thekennelclub.org.uk
denisa.delic@thekennelclub.org.uk
david.robson@thekennelclub.org.uk
james.skinner@thekennelclub.org.uk

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:

Professor S P Dean
Beechwood
Oakley Green Road
Oakley Green
Berkshire SL4 4QF Email stevedean@tyrianborder.com Phone 01628 782787

 

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
White House Farm Kennels
Gill Lane, Longton
Preston
Lancashire
PR4 4SS
Email geoff@corish.freeserve.co.uk Phone 01772 612939

An Open Letter To The Chairman Of The Kennel Club Professor Steve Dean

Professional Handlers PDF

Professional Handlers & Judges2 PDF

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Pekingese Exhibitor Is Appointed 'High Profile Breed Poodle'

Pekingese exhibitor talks about her high-profile breed co-ordinator role. Will she be the KC's Poodle?

The Kennel Club’s new high-profile breed co-ordinator is Pekingese exhibitor Charlotte McNamara.
She is secretary of the Pekingese Club, committee member of Birmingham Pekingese Association and on the show team of UK Toydog. Ms McNamara is also employed by The Kennel Club.

Her job will entail her communicating and liaising with breed health co-ordinators for the 14 high-profile breeds. Her responsibilities include providing proactive support for the breed clubs involved, acting as a point of communication between the KC and breed clubs, breed health co-ordinators, judges and exhibitors, and communicate regularly with enthusiasts of those breeds regarding the management of the high-profile breed list.

Asked what needed to be done to remove a breed from the list, Manchester University graduate Charlotte, 22, said: "The KC has been very clear that while the list exists in order to ensure we can help move these breeds forward and improve their health, there must also be an exit strategy. Breed health co-ordinators were appointed by the KC so they can gather information and data about their breeds and their health status, and performance indicators will be drawn up for each breed which will help to determine their exit from the list.”

She was also asked if the veterinary checks would continue in their present form.
"It was agreed at the KC’s annual meeting that further discussions will be held about them in order to ensure that the process is best able to achieve its aim – of ensuring that dogs with visible signs of health problems related to conformation do not win prizes in the show ring and that show dogs are above criticism.

"I think most people agree that this is a laudable aim.
"The KC has held a number of seminars about the veterinary checks, and opportunities for further discussion will come up at KC question times. The KC has talked to the breed health co-ordinators about the process, and once all the feedback is collated a decision will be made about how the process should evolve.”

Should there be a right of appeal, especially when different vets disagree on the same dog?
"The veterinary check is an observation and evaluation of the dog at the time of the examination on the day,” she said. "The KC ruled out the idea of a right of appeal or a secondary assessment because such an assessment can only really be made on the day the dog is shown.”
With regard to vets carrying out the checks the same way and with the same criteria, Charlotte said: "All vets have been given clear guidance on the particular points of concern for each breed and how dogs should be assessed.”

The vets for next year’s Crufts have not yet been chosen, she said.
Charlotte, who shares her affix, Lynbank, with her mother Lindsay Pemberton, began showing when she was four.

"My interest in the breed began when her grandmother bought her first Pekingese when she was in her early 20s,” she said. "Katie Lou, as she was named, was the beginning of a 60-year journey in my family.
"It was my mother who began showing Pekingese, as well as Poodles and German Shepherds, when she was in her early 20s, mostly competing at local shows and showing for other people. Her involvement over the years has grown considerably and she has made many friends in the dog-show community during that time.

"I grew up with Pekingese and I spent most of my childhood organising my own shows in our back garden with our dogs competing against each other. I first stepped into the ring at four years old with my Pekingese Gyspy and that was the beginning of my journey. Although I have taken breaks from showing to attend university, showing has always been something I’ve come back to, and which I feel will be a lifelong adventure.”

Charlotte said she had ‘an interest and passion’ for all dogs, as well as a desire to expand her knowledge of different breeds.

"As an owner and breeder I have also made it my priority to breed happy, healthy, vivacious dogs who will hopefully create a 60-year journey in other families,” she said.
Charlotte works in the KC’s canine activities department, and will report to the executive of the department, Kathryn Symns.

"Charlotte will provide proactive support for high-profile breed clubs and their health co-ordinators,” said a KC spokesman. "As an exhibitor, breeder and judge of a high-profile breed, as well as being proactive in establishing the Pekingese health scheme, we believe Charlotte to be the ideal candidate to manage the high-profile breed list.”

An Open Letter To The Chairman Of The Kennel Club Professor Steve Dean

Professional Handlers PDF

Professional Handlers & Judges2 PDF

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The French Bulldog Best Of Breed Failed Its Veterinary Examination At Driffield.

She was Paul Pearce’s Hetana Angel (Holly), who has passed her French Bulldog Club of England’s bronze health certificate.
The vet who failed her was Kennel Club General Committee member Gil Simpson, who declined to comment on Monday.
On Facebook after the show Mr Pearce said that Holly had developed ‘a very watery eye’ between winning BOB and the check.
"The vet thought it may be due to the cold, windy weather and reluctantly had to follow guidelines,” he wrote. "We did not compete in the group. I was very disappointed but, as the vet said, Holly would almost certainly be OK by the time we got home, and I can confirm that this was the case.”

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.

"I fully uphold the vet’s decision as she was following set guidelines and this case is an example of what can happen to any dog after winning BOB and waiting to appear in the group ring. On this occasion I was the unlucky one, but it can happen to anyone.

He went on; "After a good night’s sleep back home in the warm, Hetana Angel is 100 per cent back to normal and I am looking forward to taking her to her next show.”

The Frenchie judge at Driffield, Phillip Stemp, spoke to Mrs Simpson at the show.

This was Holly’s second CC. Her first CC came from the French Bulldog Club of England’s show earlier this year under Crufts chief vet Dr Andreas Schemel.

Canine Alliance director Tony Taylor called the failure ‘business as usual’.

"This is just another of the continued inconsistencies and unpredictable decisions surrounding these checks,” he said. "And it really concerns us.

"There is also a complete lack of justice about the whole situation and still no right of appeal, which to my mind any form of jurisdiction should have. It’s absolutely crazy.

"But it must be taken seriously. How are these checks to be governed in the longer term? They’re doing so much damage to dog showing and having an even bigger effect on breeding and entries at shows and in the end I believe it might kill off showing altogether.

"We still look forward to talking to the KC about it; we want to work with them – we’re not anti-KC but we are anti any situation which is doing so much harm to our hobby, and for me it’s a hobby, not a business. Let’s work together on it.”

Mr Taylor said he believed the KC had not thought things through properly, or what the implications would be by introducing the checks at Crufts.

"Perhaps the General Committee didn’t get to the stage of thinking what would happen if there were failures there,” he said. "I think the KC should say it has made a mistake, acknowledge it, rectify it and suspend the practice before taking time out to look at the whole situation and try to come up with something sensible. It’s a far too serious matter to continually bat it back and forward. We have to sit down together.

"The general feeling among the showing fraternity is obvious from reading forums; people have very entrenched views at opposite ends of the spectrum, but we just want to get on with our hobby and we’re getting fed up. Hopefully some of the people whose comments you can read online – not necessarily big names – will start making a bit of a noise.

"But now it’s time to be rational and come up with a new way of testing dogs.”

KC. Spokesman Caroline Kisko said: "We welcome input from all those interested and involved in dogs and dogs showing in the discussion about the vet checks. We have now held two seminars with a further two next week and will be running question times throughout the year.

"The recent question time was poorly attended, which is unfortunate, and we urge people to use these opportunities to discuss important issues with the KC. However, the limited feedback on the vet check issue will be added to all the comments that we receive and will be fed into the vet check review group, which is making recommendations for the next AGM.

"We want to ensure that the checks serve the purpose which we are all agreed upon, which is to ensure that we can be proud of the dogs who win in the show ring, and that they demonstrate that show people are breeding, and supporting the breeding of, healthy dogs.

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.

"As this assessment is made on the day that the dog is shown, by the show vet, it is perfectly conceivable that a dog will not be suffering from pain or discomfort at one dog show and so pass the veterinary examination, but that a problem may arise at a later show that will then lead to a veterinary examination failure.”

An Open Letter To The Chairman Of The Kennel Club Professor Steve Dean

Professional Handlers PDF

Professional Handlers & Judges2 PDF

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Overseas Dogs Welcome To Compete In New Crufts Classes

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:

Hound Group
• Azawakh
• Basset Bleu De Gascogne
• Bavarian Mountain Hound
• Cirneco Dell`Etna
• Grand Bleu De Gascogne
• Segugio Italiano

Gundog Group
• Korthals Griffon
• Lagotto Romagnolo
• Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer
• Small Munsterlander
• Spaniel (American Water)

Utility Group
• Eurasier
• Korean Jindo
• Mexican Hairless (Intermediate)
• Mexican Hairless (Miniature)
• Mexican Hairless (Standard)

Working Group
• Beauceron
• Entlebucher Mountain Dog
• Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
• Pyrenean Mastiff

Pastoral Group
• Bergamasco
• Catalan Sheepdog
• Swedish Lapphund

An Open Letter To The Chairman Of The Kennel Club Professor Steve Dean

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Kennel Club Reminds Vets To Report Operations

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.

An Open Letter To The Chairman Of The Kennel Club Professor Steve Dean

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The future for vet practices

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.

Concerned with the accuracy of the information about the pet owner which it receives, Petlog, the UK’s largest lost and found database for microchipped pets is calling on vets to help improve client accuracy by registering their pets using their PMS or via Petlog’s online facility.

Sue Watson, Client Care Assistant at Medivet Hunstanton said: ‘I like this system as it saves us all time (staff and clients). There is no problem reading peoples’ hand writing, resulting in less (if any) mistakes and clients seem impressed at how quick it is. It is also cheaper because no postage is involved, and no forms can go missing.’

According to the National Office of Statistics, 77% of households have access to the internet, however according to Petlog, only 33% of vets choose to do their registrations electronically. Petlog Executive Celia Walsom explains: “At Petlog we do everything we can to ensure the information we have is 100% accurate and processed in a timely fashion to build pet owner confidence but we rely on vets to help us to keep quality and transmission time of data at a high level.

“We have carried out analysis and have found that manual registration tends to be less accurate than electronic data. A client’s details are often already in a vet’s system and filling out a paper form is an extra process, while electronic data is processed instantly and greatly improves the client’s experience. But, despite efforts to move away from manual registration more than half of vet practices still choose to use this method.”

When information is incorrect precious time is wasted trying to get a hold of the owners. This is sorely felt across the board as vets, welfare organisations and local authorities spend time and resources trying to look after and reunite the pet with its owner, the owner is left upset not knowing where the pet is and the pet is distressed. For this reason Petlog has been campaigning to both pet owners and vets to ensure all information is correct. This starts with the initial registration but also the education of the pet owner as to how to keep their details up to date.

If you would like to get on board with electronic data transfer contact Petlog or your Petlog Microchip Supplier Representative. Visit us at BVNA Stand C10 and London Vet Show Stand J91 to see a demo, pick up the latest information guide and sign up to online registration.

To find out more about how Petlog can work with you and your practice visit: https://www.petlog.org.uk/vets.aspx

An Open Letter To The Chairman Of The Kennel Club Professor Steve Dean

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MORE MONEY MISERY AT NEC

The NEC has upgraded its parking facilities improving the visitor experience for Crufts 2013
[Which really Means We're Increasing The Price]

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.

New coaches and signage have been introduced, improving journeys from the car parks and around the site. An enhanced choice of parking services will be available to visitors and as a result, from September 2012, parking will cost £10. The £10 charge will also apply to disabled parking, which is located close to the halls, and which has been extensively upgraded.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Communications Director said: “The Kennel Club does not have control of parking or charges at the NEC for Crufts, but obviously works closely with venues to feedback on services provided. While these changes do mean a small increase in basic parking costs at a time when budgets are limited, we hope that the improvements and new services the NEC have introduced will be welcomed by exhibitors and visitors to Crufts 2013.”

Sophie Lilly, Account Director of Venue Sales at the NEC, said: “We acknowledge that it is difficult for visitors to accept price rises, especially under challenging economic times, but the changes are needed in order to make these investments to ensure our venue offers our valued Crufts customers a great experience that will set the NEC apart from the rest.”

An Open Letter To The Chairman Of The Kennel Club Professor Steve Dean

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BREATHTAKING ARROGANCE - AND WE NEED MORE GOBSHITES

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.

Does he listen to your concerns, who knows. Does he take any notice of them, NO!

The Canine Alliance called Chairman Dean “Rude and Dismissive”. They missed out his Breathtaking Arrogance in their statement.

Breed Health Coordinator Kim Slater's Neapolitan Mastiff and Bob Williamson's Chow were both failed when health tested at Welsh Kennel Club’s Championship Show.

Ms Slater is demanding an apology, an enquiry and the dog's BOB to be reinstated.
Vet Mark Gordon who failed the dogs would not comment saying he did not want to discuss private information. Just who's privacy is he protecting; the arrogant Veterinary Brigade; or the Breathtakingly Arrogant Vet – who is also Chairman Of The Kennel Club, Professor Steve Dean?

Ms Slater requested that the Kennel Club Chairman Professor Steve Dean [Vet] to come to the Veterinary Centre at the show ground to clarify the situation. She received a message saying that he was unavailable. UNAVAILABLE? He would not walk 20 yards to sort out the problem. The arrogant Chairman would have us all believe that he cares about exhibitors!


Dedicated To The Chairman Of The Kennel Club

Robert Harlow of The Canine Alliance said that the continued inept performance of the KC is making it a laughing stock around the World. But, more worryingly, it is also making a laughing stock of breeders and exhibitors too.

An Open Letter To The Chairman Of The Kennel Club Professor Steve Dean

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The Chairman Of The Kennel Club's Annual Speech At the Welsh Dinner

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.”

BELOW A QUOTE FROM A BORDER TERRIER EXHIBITOR AND BREEDER

["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.”

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The Kennel Club To Do Away With Benching

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
email cat@thekennelclub.org.uk or phone 0844 4633 980, ext 30.

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A New Secretary For Belfast Dog Show

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.

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KENNEL CLUB CHAIRMAN’S REPLY TO CANINE ALLIANCE
“RUDE, DISMISSIVE AND UNACCEPTABLE”

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.
"As explained in the letter, the views of external groups and individuals will be sought once the Dog Health Group has met and the consultation process is under way.”

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Blackpool Championship Show Abandoned

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.

By 1pm more than 100 cars had been towed off a rain soaked car park.

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.
This year heavy rains set in and even some of the wet weather rings became waterlogged by mid-morning. In the afternoon wind speeds were estimated to be around 40mph.

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.

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CANINE ALLIANCE INVITES KENNEL CLUB CHAIRMAN TO AN OPEN MEETING

The Canine Alliance has issued an invitation to the Kennel Club Chairman to attend an open meeting of its members.

At the latest meeting of its steering committee it was felt that in view of the outcome of the Kennel Club’s Annual General Meeting and the subsequent comments made my Professor Dean, much could be gained by his meeting with members of the Alliance.

The letter points out that this is a very real opportunity to meet with the grass roots of our hobby. Questions will be invited from the floor and will not be submitted in advance. The meeting will ensure that as many people as possible are able to offer their views in a responsible and dignified manner.

The Canine Alliance shares the Kennel Club’s goal of healthy show and breeding stock, but firmly believes that the veterinary checks in their present format are far from ideal. In particular, the singling out of the same fifteen breeds at every show is not the way forward.

Alliance Secretary Robert Harlow said, “The Canine Alliance wishes to work with the Kennel Club but believes that the views of the breeders and exhibitors who keep it in business should be listened to. We look forward to his acceptance and to what should be an informative and positive meeting. We have asked Professor Dean to nominate a date as we realise how busy he is and have requested that he agrees to a midlands venue so that the meeting is accessible to as many of our members as possible.

“The dog world at large is facing many problems at the moment and we believe that the ultimate aims of the Kennel Club and the Canine Alliance are far more similar than some would have us believe.”

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The Kennel Club Responds To Criticism From German KC

The Kennel Club has responded to criticism by its German counterpart of the high-profile breed veterinary health checks.

In an official statement in Unser Rasse Hund, the VDH’s official magazine, it called the checks flawed, degrading and insensitive and said it was ‘neither possible nor practical’ to perform a thorough clinical veterinary examination at a show.
This practice was flawed, the article said, because only top-winning show dogs being checked had a ‘minimal effect’ on the selection process of future breeding stock, and a show was the wrong place to do it. The article also said it was 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’,” the statement read.
In a letter to the club the KC’s canine activities executive, Kathryn Symns, said the checks had been introduced to ensure dogs who became eligible for the group competition were not suffering from visible conditions which affected their health and welfare.

Exaggerations

"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 KC has been working closely with all those affected breeds and much work has been done by the breeds to move away from these exaggerations and in a remarkably short time,” she wrote. "As the KC, we have to provide the appropriate framework to ensure dogs win at shows because they are typical of their breed and have good health.

"The veterinary check is part of that framework, and if breeders, exhibitors and judges play a full part then the veterinary check should be a simply confirmatory procedure that it is expected will be dispensed with in due course once the high-profile breeds have been able to show improvement across their breed.”

Mrs Symns said that ‘for at least three years’ before Crufts the KC had been monitoring and observing breeds to gather data to support the work those breeds had undertaken to improve their conformation.

"It was regrettable that we needed to introduce veterinary checks…” she wrote. "However, it cannot be ignored that some breeds do have visible conformational exaggerations that have led to avoidable conditions causing pain or discomfort to the dog.

"It is quite possible for judges and vets to make assessments on the above conditions at a dog show and therefore we do not accept that the veterinary checks are flawed or impractical. Neither does the KC accept that dog shows are purely ‘beauty competitions’. If this was the case why is it, as suggested in the magazine article, unreasonable for dogs to be disqualified if they show signs of illness such as lameness, skin disorders or eye disease?

"We trust that this clarifies the position and wonder if you might wish to include such clarification in your magazine in the near future.”

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Health Checks Flawed Degrading And Insensitive

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:

1) If only top-winning show dogs are checked this has a minimal effect on the selection process of future breeding stock;

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’.

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THE KENNEL CLUB’S RESPONSE TO THE CANINE ALLIANCE’S CONCERNS

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. 

This meeting took place after the formation of the Alliance initially to deal with concerns over the method of veterinary checks of the high profile breeds at Crufts and on an ongoing basis.
The Kennel Club stated in its response that: 'It is clear that all involved want the same outcome - healthy dogs being shown in all breeds. How this is achieved appears to be the main point at issue. Many of the following concerns were addressed by the Kennel Club Chairman in his response issued on 20th March.

Terrier World is publishing the complete reply together with the points raised by Mike Gadsby:  The points and issues raised by Mike Gadsby are first followed by the Kennel Club’s response:

Mike Gadsby (MG) 1. Victimisation: The KC elected to target only 15 breeds, and therefore from its conception a health initiative based on only a sample of breeds was fundamentally flawed. To suggest exaggerations which could have an impact on health might be limited to 15 breeds was naive and was bound to lead to justifiable complaints. A group winner with an exaggeration more severe than that which had exempted the Basset and the Clumber could be clearly seen. This one case alone demands that the current Health Initiative be suspended immediately until a more suitable replacement agreed upon.
Kennel Club: There is no intention to 'victimise' any breed or breeds but the Kennel Club has focussed on breeds with developed exaggerations which can have a negative impact on the health of that breed. As has been well documented, the 1995 European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals listed some 30 breeds detailing deleterious conditions which, it claimed, if not addressed could warrant action to prevent further breeding. The Kennel Club 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. 
The High Profile Breeds have been under discussion for more than ten years and key representatives of each of the high profile breeds have met with the Kennel Club on a number of occasions to discuss the issues. In the majority of cases there has been agreement that exaggerations need to be addressed and the Kennel Club acknowledges and applauds the positive steps that have been taken by many breed clubs. Most recently the KC has invited each of the breeds to attend an informal lunch to discuss progress and to thank the breeds for their positive steps towards breed health improvement. Those attending the lunches have been positive and have taken the opportunity to put their points of view and discuss the future.
Over-zealous
MG 2. Veterinary Checks: Flawed in so many areas. At two health meetings and on a subsequent television interview the chairman Steve Dean gave assurances of how veterinary procedure would emulate a judge's examination, this would of course exclude the use of any instruments. On the first day of Crufts, Steve dean stated in an broadcast interview with vet Nick Blaney that the bob winners would be subject to a 'superficial check in four areas' a dictionary definition of 'superficial' states 'not profound or thorough'!
Yet in each case those subject to the process accused the vet for being overzealous. For the examination to be so intrusive as to cause distress to the exhibit and to the owner/handler. In all cases the process far exceeding the time a judge would take to examine an exhibit and finally in several cases instruments were used to aid excessive eye examinations.
The fact that no one with authority was in place to ensure that guaranteed protocol was upheld was yet another serious flaw in the process.
KC: The process of the veterinary checks has been developed fully over two years and was first announced well over a year ago. It was agreed from the beginning that no specialist instruments would be used. However it was accepted that the amount of light available to the veterinary surgeon may be less than that available to the judge under the lights in the ring and therefore the use of a pen torch was considered reasonable. The Chairman has repeatedly made this point publicly at the briefing meetings during 2011. The process was conducted in a tactful, sympathetic and diplomatic manner, and whilst the time taken for the examination was longer than that taken by the judge, this included the time taken to take the dog to the veterinary area, explain the process and complete the documentation. We recognise and understand that the six exhibitors that did not have their BOB award confirmed at Crufts will have been greatly disappointed; however we are satisfied that the agreed protocol was followed in all cases and all the decisions were justified. A pen torch was in fact only used until the lighting in the veterinary areas was improved. Use of the pen torch has now been suspended and a requirement has been placed on shows to ensure that the lighting in the veterinary area is as good as that in the rings.
Brief
MG 3. Selection of Vets: The appointments were made at the 11th hour, the closing date for applications was Friday 17th February 2012, assuming the first opportunity to consider these applications would be Monday the 20th and a minimum of a week to organise interviews. Leaving just 10 days to make an offer before the first day of Crufts. In that same interview with Nick Blaney, Steve Dean said 'we've spent a lot of time talking to the breeders, the organisers and to the vets doing the inspections'. The reality was that there was an insufficient amount of time given to such a vital role in the same way that there was insufficient time given to ensure that suitable vets were appointed.
We formally request a copy of the briefs given to the appointed vets, if not forthcoming we can conclude that they were not formally briefed properly or indeed not briefed at all.
In view of the very late selections the vets could not have been vetted properly and nowhere on the application form was a requirement that any antagonistic views the candidates may have to the discipline of showing dogs be revealed. Was it naive of the KC not to consider that those 'independent' vets who volunteered might be aligned with activists against our sport?
It was obvious that no training had been given and that the vets appeared to be unfamiliar with the breed standard for the 15 targeted breeds.
The brief that 'excessive exaggeration which adversely affects the health and welfare of the exhibit' appeared either to be ignored or had not been sufficiently explained to the vets, as perfectly fit and functioning animals with no real welfares issues were excluded.
Finally and probably most damning is the actual KC veterinary inspectors report which says, 'I would like to state that I consider this dog's eye anatomy to be relatively normal and that the inflammation is the main deciding factor in this case' a second vet who examined the dog within five minutes of failing the official inspection states that the inflammation mentioned was simply the darkening of the conjunctivae caused by the exercise during BOB competition.
KC: The appointment of veterinary surgeons has been under discussion for some considerable time. Two seminars were held at Stoneleigh in December 2010 and April 2011 and all the Show veterinary surgeons were invited to attend to ensure that all were fully briefed. In addition, a seminar for the General and Group Championship Shows was held in December 2011 to answer their questions and concerns. The integrity of any of the usual show veterinary surgeons was never in question, but to ensure complete transparency the British Veterinary Association was asked to nominate veterinary surgeons to the position for Crufts 2012. However the BVA felt unable to do this, preferring to advertise the position in the Veterinary Record.
The two veterinary surgeons that were appointed following the advertisement are eminently qualified to undertake the task and have wide general experience and also experience of dog shows. Both were given full guidance to the same standard as had previously been carried out for the Championship show veterinary surgeons and the timing of their appointment was never an issue.
MG 4. Appeal procedure: One of the biggest indictments against the KC was a failure to have in place an appeal procedure with no 'second opinion' that could be implemented on the spot should an exhibit fail the initial examination. The KC is therefore failing in its responsibility to represent fully the interests of their own exhibitors.
Four BOB winners were excluded for eye issues; the KC had BVA eye specialists working throughout Crufts that could have been called upon had such an obvious appeal procedure been in place.
At Crufts 2009 a precedent was set, ringside observers recommended the Peke BOB winner be veterinary checked, and she was subsequently disqualified from appearing in the group. An appeal by a 2nd vet lead to the disqualification being overturned.
KC:  It was made clear that the examining veterinary surgeon's decision would be final. The examination is not intended to be the same as that which would be conducted by a specialist and is a general health check to look for clinical evidence of disease leading to welfare issues at the time including eye disease, skin conditions, breathing difficulties and lameness; principally signs of physical discomfort caused by conformation. Ringside observers or show officials may still refer any exhibit to the veterinary surgeon for further examination should they have any further concerns at any time at the show.
The conditions specified under the BVA/KC Canine Health Schemes are those of the eye itself, and not, for example, those involving the eyelids, or those relating to tear production or drainage. This means that eyelid problems such as entropion, ectropion and distichiasis (extra eyelashes) are not certified under the Scheme but are simply noted in the middle section of the certificate and not the bottom section where the inherited eye status is recorded.
The statement regarding the Pekingese Best of Breed winner at Crufts 2009 is incorrect as this dog was only ever assessed by Steve Dean in his role as chief vet at the show. Whilst he initially had some concerns relating to the dog's breathing, he did not disqualify it and thus there never any need for an appeal as stated. The dog was assessed as being fine to progress to the Group.
Feelings
MG 5. Empathy for the exhibitors: The exhibitors, the KCs paying customers feelings were never taken into account. And in an example of this contempt, presenter Claire Balding asked 'what will now happen to the Peke and Bulldog BOB winners' to which Chairman Steve Dean responded 'well they could stay and watch the groups (at which point he laughs) 'but then again I don't suppose they'll want to'.
It is incredulous that there could be a display of such appalling poor taste and amusement when the reputation of our sport and its exhibitors was being brought into disrepute.
KC:  As has been stated above the process was conducted in a sympathetic, understanding and tactful manner. In every case the handler was given the opportunity to take as much time as was reasonable to take photographs, receive congratulations etc before being guided to the veterinary area. The Kennel Club has received no complaint from any owner or handler involved with the process, but as with all new initiatives the process will be evaluated and any improvements to the process considered. Equally the Chairman meant no disrespect in his reply to Claire Balding's question and apologises if any upset was caused.
MG 6. One of the breeds excluded was the Basset hound winner. The breeders of which are one of the KCs esteemed assured breeders. This accolade is surely the 'jewel' in the KC's PC crown, so how could it be, that with the high levels of scrutiny employed by the KC to police the quality of this scheme, that the very best of this particular breeders stock was considered to have 'exaggerations that adversely effected its health and welfare'. The KC endorses the puppies available from their assured breeders on one hand, feeding them to the wolves with the other. It is interesting to note that the term 'assured' means guaranteed; sure; certain.
On their website the KC states that 'the assured breeders scheme was introduced to raise the standard of breeding and to help puppy buyers ensure that they are given the best possible chance of buying a puppy that will lead a happy healthy life. Also interesting is the fact that there are over 230 KC assured bulldog Breeders and yet during an informal lunch with health coordinators Steve Dean stated that he believed that no bulldogs should pass the current veterinary health checks.
KC: The Assured Breeder Scheme is designed to encourage good breeding practice and health testing is an important cornerstone of the scheme. Breeders who adopt good breeding practice are more likely to produce puppies that live a long and healthy life, but it is accepted that there are never any guarantees where living beings are concerned and the Kennel Club makes this very clear. The show ring can only be responsible for the physical and visible conformation issues that a judge can see, hear or feel. Breeders must take responsibility for the internal health of their puppies. Professor Bateson made clear in his independent review into dog health that the show ring can be a positive lever for change and it is important that breeders, exhibitors and judges recognise that the show ring can influence any trend towards or away from exaggeration. 
The statement attributed to Kennel Club Chairman is completely untrue and this was clarified to the Canine Alliance representatives at the meeting.
Glorification
MG 7. Press releases: Were more damning because of what they didn't say. There was an understandable assumption that exhibits that failed the health inspections must have been unhealthy, after all the mantra from the KC was that dogs with exaggerations that affected their health and well-being would be excluded from group competition. The support that Steve Dean states he has received is based on this misrepresentation. It is interesting to note that the glorification of these results during broadcasting was confined to the first two days.
KC: No 'glorification' was ever sought regarding the results of the health checks - any failure of an individual dog reflects badly on the world of dog showing so the Kennel Club would be highly unlikely to seek to 'glorify' this. The press releases at the time were appropriate and factual and it was considered important to emphasise the positive point which was that nine dogs passed the checks rather than dwell on the fact that 6 failed. Changes were made to the way that the exhibits were announced in the ring over the days of the show following suggestions put forward by the Kennel Club committee.
MG 8. Fosse Data were instructed to put in the on line results that 'BOB was not awarded'
This was not true as in accordance with the KCs own regulation f(1) 3.61. 21L which states 'a judge's award will be final' since in all cases the judge did award BOB then this directive by the KC to Fosse Data was incorrect. This ruling also highlights the fact that the KC have broken their own regulations thereby rendering the Crufts entry contract legally null and void
KC: New regulations covering the veterinary checks were implemented and announced well before Crufts and received significant press coverage. All exhibitors entering at Crufts are subject to the show regulations and all have signed to state that they accept them.
Quality of light
MG 9. Inconsistencies regarding the lighting in the Veterinary Pods. Caroline Kisko stated that the eye instruments were used because the lighting in the pods was of poor quality. We have however photographic evidence to prove that the lighting inside the pods with the strip lights off was identical to the quality of light in the rest of the main hall. In fact this can be seen quite clearly on day one of Crufts on 'more4' in the interview between Steve Dean and Nick Blaney when a Chow Chow is featured in the vet inspection pod. It is worth reminding ourselves at this point that the conditions for the veterinary inspection were supposed to be aligned with those of the judges.
KC As has already been stated, the veterinary surgeons were permitted to use a pen torch if they felt that insufficient light was available in the veterinary area however the use of the torch was limited until better lighting was introduced to the veterinary areas.
MG 10: The Bulldog health inspections states that damage to the cornea caused by facial folds, distichiasis, ectopic cilia or poor eye lid anatomy will disqualify. It is not possible in many cases to determine whether scarring has been caused by one of the above or indeed by some physical trauma sustained as a result of the freedom of a healthy life which as caring dog owners we afford our pets. Indeed I have several dogs not on breed watch such as my standard poodles that have old eye injuries and blemishes.
If damage to the eye is to be a disqualification and the health and welfare of our exhibits questioned as a result, then indirectly the KC is endorsing the practise of restricting the freedom of show dogs. It is vital that we treat our dogs primarily as companions and give them the freedom so essential for 'quality of life'! An indirect endorsement of this nature could have welfare implications.
KC: The report issued by the veterinary surgeon remains a matter between the veterinary surgeon and the exhibitor and therefore the Kennel Club cannot comment on any individual case. However we can confirm absolutely that no exhibit failed its veterinary check solely on the basis of damage cause by an accidental injury. All failures were as a result of a condition or conditions which would have caused pain or discomfort to the dog. The Kennel Club firmly believes that the health and welfare of dogs is the top priority for the vast majority of exhibitors, even if on occasion a dog has to be withdrawn from showing temporarily or permanently due to painful conditions.
MG 10. Integrity of the judges: Has been brought in to question with the KC preferring to uphold the 'independent vets' rather than to support our leading judges. If indeed our judges (all of which have been put through the most rigorous training and testing procedures) are incapable of determining ' exaggerations leading to health and welfare issues' then we must seek to withdraw their judging licenses. On this note, what penalties have been applied to those judges who failed in this most important area of their role during Crufts?
KC: For some considerable time, judges of all the high profile breeds have been required to submit a report regarding the health of the breed on that day, and this is compared with a report prepared by an independent observer. Where discrepancies exist, these are taken up with the judge and the process is considered an important part of the education of judges. Ongoing education has included an eye seminar for the high profile breeds in November 2011, incorporating a presentation on the veterinary checks and how to recognise discomfort in dogs in the show ring. Presentations have also been given at the two Group Judges seminars in February 2011 and 2012. If there is a gap in the knowledge or ability of judges to detect significant signs of pain or discomfort then further training will be considered.
MG 11. The KC's failure to react the moment that the massive failures in the process unfolded. The urgency to attempt to minimize the damage should have been the priority from Thursday afternoon. Despite desperate attempts for dialogue we were told that results of the inspections would be considered the week following Crufts.
KC: The Kennel Club does not agree that there are massive failures in the process; however as with any new initiative the process will be reviewed and where improvements are identified these will be introduced as a matter of course.
MG 12: The KC choosing to implement this new inspection at Crufts when obvious flaws had not been ironed out. It was ludicrous not to adopt a 'softer launch' to sort out teething problems or in this case to rework the whole initiative.
KC: The Kennel Club recognises that when changes to established process take place there can be a period of adjustment. However it was felt that it was incumbent on the Kennel Club to introduce these changes at its own show and lead the way rather than place the responsibility for the checks directly onto the shoulders of another Championship show in the first instance.
We believe that the vast majority of exhibitors are concerned first and foremost with the health of their dogs. This is evidenced by the large amount of support that the Kennel Club has received from both within and also from outside the dog breeding fraternity following the introduction of veterinary checks at Crufts. We note that many within the Canine Alliance would seem to concur with this view and want the veterinary checks extended to every breed.
Far from adding to the high profile breeds, the KC believes that these health checks can help breeds to show that they are succeeding in resolving the conformational problems affecting their breeds by providing evidence to assist in the process of removing them from the high profile list.
Reaction
However shortly after this response from the Kennel Club Andrew Brace wrote on the Alliance Facebook page: 'If you haven't seen it yet, here is what "KC" has come up with in response to Mike Gadsby's presentation on behalf of the Canine Alliance to Kathryn Symns and Caroline Kisko (link to Kennel Club site). Our secretary has already written to ask exactly who is responsible and accountable for this misleading document ... we will then demand a meeting with that person/s. AHB'
Andrew then followed this up with a strongly worded comment on the Kennel Club response by saying it was, 'Lies, smoke and mirrors ... but we will not take this lying down!'
Also on Facebook there were many comments for and against although one member, Lorraine Bolton, said: 'The Kennel Club response appears to be entirely factual, detailing events, timings etc... Mikes letter deals with the emotional issues surrounding events, equally important. I don't see any conflict. Perhaps I have been taken in by the smoke and mirrors. However, which part of the Kennel Club's response is lies, Andrew?'
Mr. Brace responded by saying 'the lies will be highlighted individually when this document is analysed and commented on. Meanwhile we await the reply to our question as to who is responsible and accountable for this document!'
Alan Hedges who wrote an extended piece on the subject at large in last weeks Dog Press added, 'strong stuff Andrew, calling them liars is a major step up in the rhetoric.'
Other writers added that they thought this was too much of a corporate response from the Kennel Club. All of this appears to be at odds with the Alliance and the Kennel Club issuing a mutually agreed press release days before and does not bode well for constructive future discussions if battle lines are being drawn in this way.
Alliance press release
'The Canine Alliance has subsequently issued an additional press release via their Press Officer Andrew Brace: 'The Canine Alliance thanks all who have joined since the first open meeting that led to its formation in March. It is heartened by the fact that more and more people clearly feel that they welcome a voice to represent them when dealing with the Kennel Club and other official bodies. The Alliance looks forward to the day when everyone who breeds and exhibits pedigree dogs will be a CA member and have ensured that joining could not be easier. Simply go to the Canine Alliance website at    www.caninealliance.org, click on "join here" and follow the instructions. 
'Payment can be made via credit card, cheque or PayPal. The annual membership fee is £10 with a special junior membership for those under the age of 16 at £5.  
'The Alliance is intent on pursuing how an acceptable arrangement can be arrived at so that all dogs shown at Kennel Club licensed shows, and all whose progeny are Kennel Club registered, have achieved an agreed level of health and fitness as an absolute minimum. It also believes that the Kennel Club membership should be more representative of the average breeder and competitor and aims to look at ways in which this can be achieved.  
'It is imperative that all who believe in upholding the traditions of all our different breeds should join The Alliance and help it campaign for universally healthy pedigree dogs that can be exhibited without any discrimination, being judged faithfully against the Kennel Club's own breed standards. 
'Membership fees will be used to finance the promotion of the Alliance's ideals, cover printing, advertising and presence at shows and related events. All members will receive an enamel member's badge. It should be pointed out that none of the officers or steering committee are drawing any expenses and are working for the Alliance in an entirely voluntary capacity.  
'Watch the canine press for details of planned regional meetings where members of the steering committee look forward to meeting everyone who is interested in the work the Alliance.' 
Since this situation developed after Crufts the General Committee of the Kennel Club has not had chance to meet in full. Equally, the Steering Group of the Alliance is due to meet later in April to establish its policies and course of action.

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Mr Chairman The Pictures Below Were Taken On The Same Day At Crufts Thursday March 8.
The Question For Professor Steve Dean Chairman Of The Kennel Club Is;
Do You Think There Is Anything Wrong With The Images?


Crufts Utility Group Judge March 8 2012
(1st Group To Be Judged)


Crufts Toy Group Exhibitor March 8 2012
(Second Group To Be Judged)


Do Let Terrier World Know Your Answer Mr Chairman If Possible Before Crufts 2013
Our Readers From 92 Countries Would Be Delighted To Know Your Opinion.


Could This Be The Catalyst For An Alternative Kennel Club?

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 membership@caninealliance.org.

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.”

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The Kennel Club Chairman Steve Dean Is Under Attack

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.

He said: "There has been much comment about the veterinary checks of the high-profile breeds (HPB) which started at Crufts and is scheduled to be repeated at all general and group championship shows for the foreseeable future.

The KC has kept comment to a minimum to permit the dog exhibitors, judges and public to have their say and to allow time for evaluation of the process and the veterinary reports received. However, the fact that nine breeds passed the checks and that in the main, the concerns highlighted in those that failed were not linked to problems relating to lameness, skin disorders or respiratory distress, must be a reason for congratulation. It is recognised that even the breeds that failed have made huge strides forward in recent years and this progress needs to continue particularly in relation to externally visible eye disease.

"To consider the background – the 1995 European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals listed some 30 breeds detailing deleterious conditions which, it claimed, if not addressed could warrant action to prevent further breeding.

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.

This system based upon voluntary referral by observers still yielded occasions where dogs entered the group ring without a veterinary check that were subsequently criticised regarding health and welfare. In part this was because of a lack of referral or the presence of eye conditions that were not easily visible from the ringside but were visible close-up. At this time breeds examined were told where problems were noted but no breeds were excluded at Crufts in 2010 and 2011 following a veterinary check.

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.

Associated changes were made to show regulations to allow the judge to withhold a BOB where dogs on the day were not of sufficient quality in terms of health and welfare. As the judge’s opinion is the basis of the CC award it was decided not to remove the CC award as a result of a failed check but judges would be asked to comment upon why the BOB winner was found to have clinical problems and if they took this into account in their decision.

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.

As the award of BOB would be completed sometime before the veterinary inspection would take place it was not possible to allow another dog from the breed to take the place of BOB in the group. This would be impractical from the judging perspective and interfere with the opinion of the judge. It is critical that judges are committed to rewarding healthy dogs Why only 15 HPBs – is this unfair and discriminatory?

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.

Any BOB winner may be referred to the show’s vet if there are concerns about health or welfare. In addition, judges have the ability to withhold BOB awards and exclude dogs from the ring if they have concerns that a dog’s health and welfare is compromised. The veterinary check is therefore an additional control, because the 15 breeds listed all have a significant risk of exaggerated conformation leading to health and welfare concerns and the KC has a duty to ensure this is addressed in the show ring.

Vet Inspection

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.

Musculo-skeletal soundness is assessed by the presence or absence of lameness. Vets who normally officiate at championship shows have been briefed. They were informed that they are not intended to judge the dogs in the manner of the show ring. Their examination is intended to be identification of the clinical signs leading to concerns about health or welfare and no diagnosis is required. The report form does provide the vet the ability to comment on other conformational factors that were worthy of note but do not form part of the examination.

The issue of diagnostic equipment has been raised by exhibitors at Crufts. Advice to the vets throughout the past year has been not to use any diagnostic aid with the exception of a pen torch where lighting is not adequate. A pen torch was used on the first day but following complaints better lighting was placed in the veterinary examination areas and no further use was necessary. So to confirm – no other diagnostic aid was used and it has been agreed that pen torches will not be used in the future.

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.

Outcome

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.

There has been considerable focus on the negative impacts of these veterinary checks on the owners and judges, but the positive aspects for the breeds concerned should be considered. None of the dogs examined exhibited significant breathing difficulties or lameness. Given the number of brachycephalic (short muzzled) dogs and breeds associated with inherited skeletal conditions within the 15 HP breeds this is encouraging.

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.

We can say that where these are exhibited in a minor way they are less serious than more overt cases but even if the dog is otherwise outstanding, is it right to put it forward with a clinical problem even if this is transitory? This is clearly a question for debate. Can we expect a judge to notice the same level of eye disease as a vet? This is a question that needs to be considered. Equally can we continue to accept ‘some haw showing’ or descriptors in breed standards that suggest triangular shaped eyes? These are all divergent from the normal eyelid that dogs need to maintain good ocular health. Blame is not relevant at this stage for haws have been with us in some breeds for more than a century and even the veterinary profession have only recently made moves to pay more attention to adnexal eye conditions.

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).

There are no plans to demand health certificates or health test results at dog shows. Other breeds – It has been suggested there are other breeds with conformational exaggerations and a policy is being developed on how other breeds may be added to the HPB listing. However, the KC would encourage other breeds to follow the trend to improve conformation, particularly in terms of eyelid conformation.

There will be other questions that some will want answered and we will endeavour to address as many of them as possible in due course.

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The Kennel Club Are Invited To Suspend High-Profile Breed Vetrinary Checks

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.

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What A Dogs Dinner The Kennel Club Have Made For Themselves

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.
Have the Kennel Club thought this through? If the failure of a particular dog is not going to improve; what happens then? Does the reserve CC winner get the CC by default without any examination; or, will it have to go to a show and be examined by a Vet before a default CC is awarded?
It gets worse. If the condition is inherent from birth, what about the other CCs that it has won; and if there are different reserve CC winners? It's a 'Dogs Dinner.'
Have The Kennel Club given this directive the careful consideration that they should have? There could be compensation claims to follow.
The Kennel Club should be looking to put its own house in order; they continue to ignore the fact that there is a serious conflict of interests when Professional Handlers are allowed to Judge at the highest level, even at their own show, Crufts.

The directive below was issued January 6, 2011.

Vet Checks For High Profile Breeds At Crufts 2012 And Championship Shows Thereafter
06-Jan-11

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.

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What Value A Challenge Certificate Now?

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
Mrs F Somerfield.

"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.”

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Should Exhibitors Demand Entry Fees And All Expenses Incurred As A Result Of Vets Decisions?

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.

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An Open Letter To Professor Steve Dean Chairman Of The Kennel Club

PROFESSIONAL HANDLER/PROFESSIONAL JUDGE

Dear Chairman,

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.

Kind Regards,
Tony Manning.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL DOG SHOW EXHIBITORS

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.

The General Committee of the Kennel Club has approved a recommendation which requires exhibitors to display the exhibit/bench number on their crate, cage or container at all times. This is particularly important when cages etc are not on benches, and at unbenched shows.

Each exhibitor is responsible for providing their own crate or cage identification and should note that the original exhibit/bench number card, as provided by the show society, must not be used for this purpose.

FAQs for identification of crates/cages

This requirement follows a recent meeting of the Show Executive Sub-Committee’s Benching Working Party, where it was agreed that it is important to be able to contact exhibitors and identify dogs where a dog may be in distress or where the crate might be blocking a gangway.

At benched shows soft crates may only be put on benches if they are the appropriate size for both the dog and the bench, and the crate can be securely attached to the bench.

Both of these points have been introduced with the safety of all in mind, but most importantly that of the dog, and to minimise potential incidents and injuries.

Exhibitors should note that the above requirements have been introduced with immediate effect and will therefore apply to exhibitors attending Crufts.

The Kennel Club would also take this opportunity to remind exhibitors that Show Regulation F(1).17 requires that dogs should be present on their benches at all times except when being judged, prepared for exhibition or exercised.

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The Follow Up To Pedigree Dogs Exposed Is
To Be Screened The Week Before Crufts Dog Show

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.

The BBC have confirmed previously that the updated programme will include a review of the main findings of the original film and a significant and substantial amount of new material exploring what progress has been made, ‘particularly by the Kennel Club in its response to the criticism in Pedigree Dogs Exposed and the recommendations made by the three independent enquiries that followed the film’.

The BBC has said “In 2008, Pedigree Dogs Exposed lifted the lid on the true extent of the health and welfare problems faced by pedigree dogs in the UK. The startling expose of harmful breeding practices generated a massive reaction from the public and from those involved in dog breeding.

“Now the programme’s producer Jemima Harrison returns to explore what has happened since she made the original film. Deeply affected by the issues that she uncovered, Jemima has become a campaigner on dog welfare.

“In this follow up programme Ms Harrison takes a personal look at the positive and negative changes that have been introduced since the first film and investigates areas of continuing concern, particularly among breeds like the German Shepherd, the Bulldog and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Jemima hears from dog breeders and a range of experts, many of whom express grave worries about the future of some of our best loved breeds.”

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Latest changes to Assured Breeder Scheme include rules on stud dogs

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.

Among these changes are new ABS regulations which cater for owners of stud dogs who do not breed litters themselves. Previously, breeders in this position were unable to join the ABS as the original regulations were drawn up very much with the rearing of puppies in mind. However, the Kennel Club recognises that stud dog owners also have an important part to play in the breeding of puppies, and as such should be included under the ABS, which has the ethos of responsible breeding at its core.

It is expected that any Assured Breeder offering a dog at stud will ensure that all the dog’s required health tests under the ABS have been carried out and that the dog is permanently identified either by a microchip, tattoo or DNA profile. For clarity, these regulations also apply to Assured Breeders who own a combination of dogs and bitches and offer their dogs at stud.

It is also expected that, from now on, Assured Breeders will draw up a Contract of Stud Dog Service for each service performed and include details of the conditions of that service which must include details and results of all relevant heath tests performed in accordance with the ABS.

In addition to this, the scheme has announced a number of breed-specific changes. Following 29 breed-specific health testing and welfare requirements and recommendations being added to the ABS in July 2011, a further 18 breed-specific changes have been announced by the Kennel Club to ensure that the scheme remains relevant to the health and welfare needs of every breed. Assured Breeders have a period of grace of six months in order to comply with any new requirements and recommendations.

These changes have been introduced following consultations with breed clubs and councils in a collaborative effort to ensure that health and welfare issues are kept at the forefront of everything the scheme does. This is mirrored in the continual addition of new DNA tests developed by scientists at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust and other research institutions.

Speaking on the latest changes to the Assured Breeder Scheme and what they mean for dog health in 2012, Bill Lambert, Kennel Club Health and Breeder Services Manager, said: “It is well recorded that the ABS was designed in such a way that it could evolve and develop.

“The latest changes concerning stud dogs are a case in point; many people involved in the world of dogs wanted to demonstrate their commitment to responsible breeding, but although they were very involved with the breeding process they were not breeders as such as they only owned male dogs.

“It is important to welcome these people into the scheme as they are completely committed to responsible breeding practice and keen to carry out all the relevant health tests. Stud dog owners play an extremely important role in the breeding of dogs and we invite them to join the Assured Breeder Scheme.”

Assured Breeder Scheme breed specific requirements and recommendations are updated twice a year to ensure they remain relevant and of maximum health benefit to all dogs bred under the scheme. The next set of changes will be announced in the summer of 2012.

Breed clubs and breed councils wishing to make a proposal for their breed should write to Assured Breeder Scheme, The Kennel Club, 1-5 Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London, W1J 8AB.

An updated list of all requirements and recommendations for the Assured Breeder Scheme can be found at www.assuredbreeders.org.uk.

Breed specific changes as at January 2012 are as follows:

AIREDALE TERRIER

Add recommendations:

Bitches under two years not to be mated
Bitches over six years not to produce a litter

BEAGLE

Add requirement:

DNA test for Musladin-Lueke Syndrome

BEAUCERON (IMP)

Add recommendations:

Bitches not to produce more than one litter in a 12-month period
Bitches under two years not to produce a litter
No puppy to leave the breeder before eight weeks of age

Change wording of recommendation:

From eye testing to annual eye testing

COLLIE (ROUGH)

Add recommendation:

DNA test for MDR1

COLLIE (SMOOTH)

Change wording of requirement:

From eye testing to annual eye testing

Add recommendation:

DNA test for MDR1

GORDON SETTER

Add requirement:

DNA test for PRA-rcd4

IRISH WOLFHOUND

Add recommendation:

Bitches over six years not to produce a litter
Bitches not to produce more than one litter in a 12-month period

Change wording of recommendation:

From breed club – heart testing to ‘All hounds used for breeding take part annually in a heart testing scheme approved by the Irish Wolfhound Club: the minimum requirement being examinations by stethoscope, ECG and ultrasound scan’

RETRIEVER (GOLDEN)

Add recommendations:

Bitches under 18 months not to produce a litter
Bitches not to produce more than one litter in a 12-month period

SPANISH WATER DOG

Change from a recommendation to a requirement:

DNA test for prcd-PRA

Add recommendations:

Bitches under two years not to produce a litter
Bitches not to produce more than one litter in a 12-month period
Annual eye testing

STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER

Add recommendation:

Litter eye screening for PHPV

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