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Posts Tagged ‘Crufts 2012’

I think this Clumber has ectropion. It comes from The Illustrated Book of the Dog (1881) by Vero Shaw and Gordon Stables.

The Sussex spaniel is pretty moderate looking compared to the modern version, but the Clumber very much looks like it has ectropion.

This trait has likely existed in this dog ever since they were show dogs. Indeed, there were always likely a few dogs with the condition, even in working kennels.

Does that mean that this trait should be lauded in the breed?

Absolutely not!

This is a health condition, not a fancy point that should be rewarded in the ring.

Lots of dogs have historically had conformation issues that are bad for their health and welfare.

Field spaniels were bred to have such short legs and long backs that they were often crippled by herniated spinal discs.  Herniation of the spinal discs is much more likely in dogs with this conformation, and as a result, the field spaniel became quite rare.

Today, the field spaniel is bred with longer legs and a more proportional back.  It has fewer problems with its body.

It’s still not very common, but these days, no one is going out of the way to breed field spaniels with dinky little legs and a long back.

That’s what has to happen with Clumber spaniel eyelids.

If not, this breed will become nothing more than a giant version of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.  A spaniel, yes, but one that might not be considered a true sporting spaniel anymore.

 

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I discovered a wart on the back of leg this weekend. I must be turning into a troll.

And then I did this to the Team Jenneh Facebook page!

No responses yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

See related post:

 

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The modern day Clumber spaniel is a very coarsely built dog. The eyelid condition known as ectropion is considered a breed trait.
Not all Clumber spaniels throughout its history were like this dog.

One of the most bizarre comments I ever received on this blog appeared on a post refers to the Clumber spaniel that lost its BOB win at Crufts this year after failing its mandatory health check:

I breed Clumbers in the US and in our standard, their eye should come to a V on the bottom lid…in other words, ectropion!… I have seen the bitch and her eyes are fine. The Ophthalmologist’s finding wer drom a much more though exam then the Crufts vet did and would have mentioned any lid problems, if they existed.

This is called cognitive dissonance.

Ectropion is a real health and welfare issue, but this breeder has declared it okay because the standard says so!

This is a winning Clumber spaniel in the UK. It has the breed feature known as ectropion. Rational people would denounce anyone who intentionally bred a defect like this. They would be even more incensed that a breed club would make it a point of excellence in a breed standard.

Breed standards were not written by God. They aren’t even divinely inspired.

They aren’t holy scriptures that cannot be revised or added to.

They are written by humans.  Many of these humans are so full of dog show dazzle that they cannot reason properly, and when it comes to revising standards, a lot of politics goes on. Very often these standard revisions are nothing more than  attemps to codify new fancy points that have been rewarded in the ring.

Standard for the AKC Clumber spaniel standard has some very contradictory language on ectropion. It does include the nonsense about the “v” on the lower eyelid, but then it states that ectropion is fault:

The eyes are dark amber in color, large, soft in expression, and deep set in either a diamond shaped rim or a rim with a “V” on the bottom and a curve on the top. Some haw may show but excessive haw is undesirable. Prominent or round shaped eyes are to be penalized. Excessive tearing or evidence of entropion or ectropion is to be penalized. Ears are broad on top with thick ear leather. The ears are triangular in shape with a rounded lower edge, set low and attached to the skull at approximately eye level.

Ectropion is defined by the US National Library of Medicin as “the turning out of the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) so that the inner surface is exposed.”

That’s what that “V” on the lower eyelid is!

So this breed standard says that a dog must have ectropion to be a fine example of its breed, but then it says that ectropion is a fault.

Talk about stupid!

The truth is that Clumber spaniels haven’t always had this feature.

One of the biggest lies ever told about this breed is that it hasn’t changed in hundreds of years.

Here’s the way Stonehenge had them depicted in The Dog in Health and Disease (1859):

Now, these dogs are quite different from that modern version, but even more recent individuals in the breed haven’t been ectropion-laden monstrosities.

These following images can all be found on Pai’s Dog Breed Historical Album on Photobucket:

1898 Clumber spaniel.

1898 Clumber spaniel.

1898 Clumber spaniel.

1901 Clumber spaniel.

1903 Clumber spaniel.

All that would have to be done is for the breed clubs to drop this nonsense about the V on the lower eyelid, and these dogs would be very similar to these dogs from over a century ago.

Now, it is true that when one peruses the images in Pai’s Photobucket album, there are some dogs with droopy eyelids.

I don’t know why these dogs were preferred over the ones with the tighter eyelids. It seems to me that is nothing more than the idiotic caprice of the fancy that picked upon this defective feature.

Dog showing has intentionally selected for an unhealthy feature in this breed, and it’s a good thing that the Kennel Club, the main registry in the Clumber’s country of origin, has decided to take this feature seriously.

The Dale Gribbles of the dog fancy continue to make up crap about this breed. They also are spreading easily falsified lies about the health of the dog that got disqualified at Crufts this year.

But it really doesn’t matter.

The facts are notoriously stubborn things.

Clumber spaniels didn’t always have ectropion as a breed feature.

And for the breed’s long-term health and welfare, its fanciers must embrace a back to the future breeding program that produces nice looking dogs with normal eyelids.

And if they don’t like it, then we can call them out for being obstructionist dinosaurs who don’t care about the welfare of their dogs.

I certainly am going to do just that.

 

 

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You know that it would take a lot for me to tell  you to go to this website, but go over and click like for this bulldog.

Why am I telling you to do this?

Because the sore-ass losers and conspiracy-minded fools over at Team Jenneh Forever don’t like this dog at all. It’s an intentionally bred tricolor bred, which we all know is an incorrect color in the bulldog!

Will someone please think of the children?!

I don’t care about the particulars of this bulldog or his breeder or his owner.

That’s not the issue.

The issue is these people have declared for themselves some sort of moral high ground from which they think they can attack other people who don’t follow their rules.

One should not forget that these people are protesting health checks for BOB bulldogs in the UK.

That’s right. They think that this bulldog, named Jenny, who lost her BOB win at Crufts due to a health issue, should be awarded the BOB anyway.

I’m sorry, but if you protest for that reason, you hereby forfeit all rights to bitch about what other breeders do.

And that’s why you should go over to the Dark Side and vote for Russ.

My browser feels icky for having gone to that website, but I think I’ll manage.

But even after all the sound and fury over there, it is amazing how silly this all is. It becomes more so when one realizes that this dog isn’t actually a bulldog that is registered with one of the established kennel clubs. It is a bulldog, but it is of a breed called the Olde English bulldogge.   That’s right, this dog has been bred to an entirely different standard and is an entirely different breed of bulldog than the ones shown in the AKC and Kennel Club shows.

It’s outside their registry. It’s none of their business.

Olde English Bulldogges are an attempt to breed a healthier bulldog. They did use bulldog from the kennel clubs to found the breed, but complaining about for them to complain about what color of this dog is about as rational as them complaining about the size of boxers or the prick ears of Boston terriers. Like the Olde English, both of these breeds have their breed in them, but these dogs exist entirely outside their registries and bloodlines.

I’d like to know where they got this authority to attack breeds that aren’t their own.

It’s just baffling.

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Since Crufts,  I’ve been inundated with Facebook threads and crazy websites that do nothing but conspiracy-monger and accuse others who don’t agree with them as being “animal rights activists.”  These exchanges are often way over the top.

But this thread on the Exhibitor’s Voice and Choice Facebook page beats them all. (I know that it says “Canine Alliance,” but it’s not the same thing as the other Canine Alliance, which will be discussed in a minute.)

(Click to make larger).

The post they are attacking can be found at Pippa Mattinson’s thelabradorsite.com in which she offers some criticism of the Canine Alliance for claiming to be about dog health but whose primary goal is to stop the Kennel Club’s new policy of mandatory vet checks for BOB winners in fifteen high profile breeds.

She gets called an animal rights activist, but if she’s an animal rights activist, then the term must be meaningless.

I always thought animal rights activists opposed hunting and shooting.  Many of them also oppose training dogs for any purpose.

Generally, animal rights activists don’t have blogs that cover shoot management, gun dog training, stalking roe and fallow deer, and ferreting with nets.

But you can find every single one of these issues covered in posts on her personal blog.

Discussing most of these subjects would get the typical animal rights activist hot under the collar in pretty short order.

So why are the Canine Alliance’s toadies and sycophants slagging her as an animal rights activist?

It’s simple:  They have no arguments.

Well, they have arguments, but they make sense only to other people who feel threatened by a major kennel club taking health issues seriously.

And when people feel threatened, they throw poo.

Not really all that different from monkeys.

Calling someone an animal rights activist is a way of turning yourself into a victim or, at the very least, making one’s position seem persecuted by some evil other.

It’s really childish and silly, especially when the person they are calling an animal rights activist is obviously not one.

And this is why you know they are losing the argument.

The public doesn’t see rational actors here.

It sees people who are acting like a bunch of overgrown children.

There is an unbelievable assumption of entitlement that oozes from the words on the various Facebook pages and website.

These people feel that they are entitled to show dogs with exaggerated and unhealthy conformation in shows that are sponsored and governed by a private entity.  They also feel that they have some right to have these dogs rewarded with prizes, even though this private entity has had standards rewritten and widely publicized that these health checks would be mandatory for BOB winners in these 15 high profile breeds.

The public, by and large, don’t like people with an entitled mentality.

The entitled mentality is a very good way to lose the public debate.

It’s also the road to irrelevance.

If these people insist on going down this path, it is very likely that all dog breeders are going to suffer the consequences.

The public is developing a low tolerance for this foolishness.

And these people are going to lose badly.

People love their dogs.  Dogs are held in a higher status in much of the West than perhaps any time in history.

People don’t have much sympathy for people who intentionally breed dogs with conformation issues that cause health and welfare problems.

And if this is the mountain that a large chunk of the dog fancy has decided to make its last stand on, they are sorely mistaken.

This will be the Alamo, not Rorke’s Drift.

Calling a gun dog and shooting sport enthusiast an animal rights activist is the sign of people who have lost the debate.

They have no defense.

And it’s now all out in the open.

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From the Team Jenneh “We was robbed” Facebook group:

The important part of that thread is Phil Guidry’s comment.

Phil Guidry is a senior policy analyst at the American Kennel Club.

His statement is very much in keeping with the previous comments against the Kennel Club’s new policy from Dennis Sprung, the AKC president and CEO.

So if you thought the AKC was going to realize that its institutional legitimacy was at stake and actually do something to address the very real problems that exist with breeding for exaggerated traits in certain breeds, you’d be wrong.

It’s decided to side with what is essentially a cancer on all dog breeders and, ultimately, all dog owners.  Breeding for extreme and unhealthy conformation is institutionalized animal abuse, no matter how you look at it. Refusing to address these problems is the road to the ruination of the American Kennel Club. It fundamentally doesn’t understand what is happening with the body politic, and the animal rights extremists will be able to use its recalcitrance as a wonderful foil to get even more extreme legislation passed.

Way to go, AKC!

Maybe that’s why your registrations are down.

Maybe that’s why people don’t believe you when you claim to be “the dog’s champion.”

Maybe that’s why so many people are turning to designer dogs– advisedly or ill-advisedly– and to the paper mill registries.

Kennel Club has decided that it wants to have a voice about dogs for the future.

The AKC has put its fingers in its ears, shut its eyes, and started nattering “Lalalala, not listening, lalala!”

And that’s how institutions begin to die.

 

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As regular readers of this blog know, there is a lot of whining going on about the Kennel Club’s new policy of checking BOB winners in 15 high priority breeds.

This whining has been mixed in with some bizarrely paranoid conspiracy mongering, and too many of these people think that anyone who refuses to denounce this policy in the most nasty matter possible automatically assume that you’re  the enemy and, therefore, must be  a dreaded “animal rights activist.” (If I am an animal rights activist, then why do I wear fur?)

However, the reason for the implementation of this policy can be found in the 2011 report from the Kennel Club’s Dog Health Group.

One of the initial reforms the KC undertook after “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” came out was that standards in certain breeds were rewritten. The KC then began a process of conformation judge education, but it became more and more obvious that judges simply weren’t adhering to the new standards. By and large, they were judging to the old ones.

So in 2010 and 2011, the KC started a program in which trained health observers  would evaluate dogs in these breeds.

Each judge was required to submit a health report in which the dogs were given a score from 1-4.  1 indicated the dog was in poor health, while 4 indicated the dog was in excellent health.

The observers were asked to use the same ranking system.

The results were an extreme discrepancy between judges and health observers.

With the exception of the Clumber spaniel, the judges generally thought the dogs were healthier than the trained health observers.

If judges are seeing health were trained health observers (who I’m guessing are probably veterinarians), then there is a problem with judges.

Thus the Kennel Club sought to find a way to get judges to pay much closer attention to health and welfare issues, and that’s why it implemented the new mandatory health check policy.  It is an attempt to get judges to change the way they think about these high profile breeds.

This is nothing more than a governing body of a sport implementing a new rule to protect the athletes. In this case, the athletes are show dogs.

This is not big government. The Kennel Club is a private entity.

It’s actually a very responsible action on behalf of the Kennel Club, and it is one that will serve it well as an institution for the long term.

If you cannot see that, then you fundamentally don’t recognize how the animal rights extremists operate. If you deny facts and become a conspiracy monger, the real animal rights people are much better propagandists than you are. If you give them this much rope, they will surely hang you with it.

So you’re better off addressing real issues within your own system. It’s far better to address these issues rationally than to act like Dale Gribble.

If you act like Dale Gribble, you’re losing.

Badly.

And you probably don’t even realize it.

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The most interesting story to come out of the Crufts 2012 debacle is the story of the Clumber Spaniel, Chervood Snowsun.

What makes it so interesting are the lies and the lying liars who tell the lies about this dog.

Lie Number 1:

In the immediate aftermath of the DQ, the owner called for an interview with the dog fancy’s Pravda organ, DogWorldTV. In the interview, she explicitly said the dog didn’t have ectropion.

Here’s the video:

Source.

I’ve been attacked  for saying that this woman denied ectropion. She’s not a native English speaker, so she may not have understood the word.

And that may have been.

But if you watch the video all the way through, the actual Clumber Spaniel Club in the UK comes to the defense of the dog and says there was no ectropion.

That is, the owner is not the only one lying.  The club is, too!

And this lie became obvious when someone managed to snap a photo of the official document describing Chervood’s Snowsun.

If you have a hard time reading the hieroglyphics of the veterinary profession, it clearly says this dog has bilateral ectropion.

You’d think that would stop the lying, but it did not.

On the Monday after Crufts, another lie came filtering its way through the paranoid natterings that have been filtering around online with the various Facebook groups that are out there claiming to be in defense of purebred dogs.

The dog was taken to a vet, and the dog’s eyes turned out to be normal. So it must be that the dog was healthy after all, and it was the card-carrying PETA member vet that caused the DQ.

Um. Wrong. There was no mention of the condition of the dog’s eyelids on that form.

It turns out that the whole thing is one giant piece of misninformation and lying through omission, as Chris over at BorderWars points out.  This lie is added to with another claim that this breed has passed its BVA/KS/ISDS eye scheme tests. These tests never look at the eyelids.

“The BVA/KC/ISDS eye scheme does not certify adnexal problems such as entropion, ectropion, distichiasis. Gonioscopy is not standard, but may be tested for separately. Entropion and Ectropion are very common in some breeds. Poor eyelid conformation is a source of pain and chronic low grade misery for affected dogs.”

There is no document that shows that this dog’s eyelids had ever been examined, except by the judge at Crufts.

The owner has engaged in deliberately dishonest behavior to get the sheep who will parrot talking points to defend show breeders at all costs. Chris writes:

So we have a perfect example of the owner of the dog making huge claims about how healthy this dog is because the breeder did all of 5 tests which looked at 3 joints (hips, elbows, knee cap), a limited survey of the eye, and one DNA exam for Exercised Induced Collapse.

The owner then gets caught at Crufts with a dog that has ectropion. Instead of admitting that the dog has this condition, as do many Clumber Spaniels, they lie and say that it does not have ectropion and that they have an exam result to prove it. But they are lying through omission.

You can’t pass a health check you never took in the first place!

There is no document, other than that from the vet at Crufts, that shows that anyone has ever looked at her eyelids.

This is a lie through omission. Most of the public doesn’t know that the check doesn’t examine the eyelids, so they assume that a document that says the dog is fine is somehow proof that the vet at Crufts unfairly targeted this dog.

If people are willing to lie about this dog and this condition, just imagine what sort of lies and misrepresentations are going with the other DQ BOB’s from this year’s Crufts?

Chris writes:

At the highest level of the sport under the greatest scrutiny you can imagine, a top flight breeder will still LIE through her teeth about what those health tests mean to deceive the public. Ectropion is not a joke, but neither is it a deeply held shameful secret. It’s widespread in several breeds and it’s easily diagnosed just from looking at most dogs with it. If the best of the best don’t have the stones to say “it’s epidemic in the breed and we’re willing to work on it, so what if we don’t win a ribbon for a few years while we try” then what can we expect them to say about the diseases which aren’t so superficial, aren’t so easy to diagnose by the public without benefit of breeder disclosure, and aren’t known to be so present in so many lines.

What about all the other diseases and conditions that have no test? That’s the vast majority of them. Will we still believe that the dogs these people breed are healthy when we have no data one way or another? Will we still accept their dangerous breeding practices, the ones that increase disease expression, when they claim to have healthy dogs because they have some results for a half dozen tests or less?

If they are willing to pretend that a simple eye exam clears their dogs of conditions which they know their dog does have but which the test does not actually cover, what other diseases will they knowingly cover up with such claims.

This owner is clearly using other people in the fancy, who are coming to her defense with this faulty information. I don’t know if the Clumber Spaniel Club members actually know the truth or if they are also being used in this manipulative scheme.  I would be highly surprised that they wouldn’t know the truth, and if they are, they are lying and manipulating people, too.

So if you’re going to defend this dog and her owner, you need a little stronger sauce than these tests and that vet report.

If  you can produce a document that says the eyelids are fine, you win.

If you cannot, then you know you’re being lied to.

And you should be angry with her and the Clumber Spaniel Club, not Crufts and not the Kennel Club.

All of this self-righteous indignation about the DQ’d BOB’s at Crufts is really getting old. The anger is being misdirected at the real culprits in this whole mess.

Paranoid rants about animal rights activists coming to take your dogs simply won’t cut it.

Every lie that is told about this dog or any of the others is further evidence for the animal rights lobby to present the dog owning public that the dog fancy is morally bankrupt and/or insane.

The way the dog fancy is handling this issue is proving it to be an entitled, selfish subculture that cares far more about nylon ribbons than it does about dog health.

That’s just about a step above Michael Vick in the eyes of the pet-owning public.

That’s not a good place to be.

It’s very hard to make rational arguments about anything, because people already think your either evil or insane.

So think about this when you write these paranoid little comments on my blog or those of others.

Your ass is showing.

 

 

 

 

 

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The following comes from Alison Skipper, one of the health check vets at Crufts:

One of the few positive things about being one of the two independent vets at the centre of this controversy is that I am, at least, independent. What I am about to write is my own opinion, and nobody has told me what to say, or even asked me to say it. Most of the other big players in this story have a vested interest of some kind: they are important people in the Kennel Club, or the British Veterinary Association (BVA), and so can’t speak completely freely, or they are well known people within the dog world, such as important judges or exhibitors.

Will Jeffels and I are not any of these things: we trained as vets because we like animals and wanted to work with them, and we volunteered to be the first vets implementing the new show checks because we supported the initiative and decided – rashly, perhaps – to get involved. I haven’t even seen Will for 20 years or so – we didn’t meet during Crufts – but we are united in our willingness to stand behind the reforms. I grew up on the fringes of the dog show world. My mother took out our family affix in 1952, and was a regular breeder during the 1950s. I’ve been coming to Crufts since it was at Olympia, with the clickety- clackity old wooden escalators up from the tube station. I’ve been a small animal vet for 22 years, and have had pedigree dogs of my own throughout this time.

I used to be very active in Australian Cattle Dogs, and was one of the driving forces behind an international effort in 1996 to source samples to develop a DNA test for PRA in the ACD; this was rewarded by the development of a gene specific test by OptiGen in 2004.

I wrote the veterinary column for Our Dogs for over five years. I am currently (unless they kick me out over this) a member of four breed specific canine societies. At the moment, I have four dogs of smaller breeds. Over my time in dogs, I’ve done a bit of showing, including at Crufts, I’ve bred three litters (with one DIY caesarian!), and I’ve done club level agility for several years. I work in a small animal practice with lots of dog breeder clients, including some successful show kennels, and a large proportion of working dogs. However, I have never shown dogs seriously, and the one time I judged a match at a fun day, I realised that judging was not for me. What I am, I hope, is an ordinary vet with a strong interest in, and love for, the pedigree dog, a good degree of clinical competence, and enough personal integrity to do what I think is right. I know how the dog world works, but I know very few of the main players within it, and these, I think, are the reasons why the KC and BVA appointed me as one of these first two vets.

To go from a quiet life one week to being at the centre of such an emotive controversy the next is not easy, or fun. Why did I agree to do it? It wasn’t for the money; we didn’t get paid. The KC gave me food for the weekend, a bed for the night, and the chance to watch the groups on the days I was at Crufts, which was all very nice but I could have stayed at home and watched it on TV, and saved myself a lot of trouble. I’m not stupid: I knew it would be extremely controversial, and that I would probably have to make decisions that would be very unpopular. And it wasn’t without personal risk; if I were found guilty of false certification I could be struck off the veterinary register and lose my livelihood. That’s a pretty strong incentive to be accurate when carrying out a clinical examination.

I agreed to do this because I thought it would help to improve the health and welfare of pedigree dogs. Personally, I see nothing wrong in the ethical production of pedigree dogs, except perhaps for the argument that there aren’t enough good homes out there for the dogs there are already. A healthy, happy pedigree dog obviously has as good a quality of life as a healthy, happy mongrel. However, nobody is compelled to breed pedigree dogs. It’s something we all choose to do. And it seems to me that, if we are choosing to bring new dogs into the world, it’s only right that we should do what we can to produce dogs who are not physically prevented from having a good quality of life.

As has often been stated, there are two problems with this that are undeniably more of an issue with purebred dogs than with cross breeds: the various genetic issues that afflict different breeds, and the issues of health and welfare that relate directly to exaggerated conformation. For some years, ethical breeders have made huge progress in improving welfare through the various schemes for monitoring inherited disease. This is hugely important, and has clearly helped to improve lives for thousands of dogs; breeders should be proud of what they’ve achieved in this area.

But inherited disease is only one side of the coin, and until recently, the other side of the coin, the problems caused by extreme conformation, has been rather overlooked within the dog fancy. The two sides are quite separate; a breed can have very moderate conformation and be plagued by serious inherited disease issues, such as the Cavalier, or it can be relatively healthy in terms of invisible problems and yet have clear issues with some aspect of its body structure.

This high-profile breed scheme is a hugely important step towards reducing the problems associated with extreme conformation. Nobody ever said, “Oh good, I’ve produced a puppy which is going to suffer pain as a result of the body shape I chose!”, but it’s all too easy to overlook chronic low-level discomfort, and I think it’s undeniable that some breeds are associated with issues of this kind. Dogs that have always had exposed, irritated inner eyelids aren’t going to scream with pain or stop eating because their eyes hurt; they don’t know any differently, but surely the same dog would have a better quality of life if its eyelids fitted better to the eyeballs. It must be better to be a Pug who can chase its friends in the park than to be a Pug that struggles to walk along a path. Surely these things are not in dispute, or they shouldn’t be.

The brief that Will Jeffels and I were given by the KC was very clear: we were not meant to assess conformation in the same way as a judge would, and we were not meant to penalise a dog because of any aspect of its shape or structure, unless we felt that attribute had led to a problem with its health or welfare. So we couldn’t reject a dog just because it had a short face or lots of skin folds, for example, or because we didn’t like the way it moved; only if it had trouble breathing, or a skin infection, or was lame, as a result of its structure.

We were chosen to do this, rather than specialist vets, because Steve Dean thought it would be unfair for judges to be over- ruled by, for example, specialist ophthalmologists, because they might notice things that no judge could be expected to see. He thought that experienced general practitioners would know what’s normal and what isn’t – we earn our livings doing it – and would be able to see obvious problems that a judge could also see.

The KC told us exactly what they wanted us to do, and then left us to go and do it. They did not try to influence our decisions in any way. We could have passed – or failed – any or all of the 15 dogs quite freely. It is sad that some dogs failed, but I think it shows that there is a need for this scheme: if we had been assessing a group of Borzois or Cairns or Dalmatians I don’t think any would have failed. Obviously, I am bound by professional confidentiality and cannot comment on any of the dogs I examined. The owners are not so bound and I would be happy for any of the owners of the dogs I examined to make public the form I signed, in its entirety. I wrote several comments on most of them, and many of the comments I wrote were positive, even on dogs I failed. I have enormous sympathy for the owners of the dogs that were failed. It must have been disappointing, embarrassing and humiliating, and it gave me no pleasure at all to do it.

There are several general points from the examination process, however, which I think are worth emphasising. Firstly, there are many possible reasons for failure. Some of them may be temporary: lameness, for example, may have gone by the next day, but one fundamental rule of veterinary certification is that you can only attest to what you see before you at that moment; you cannot speculate on what the animal might have looked like five minutes earlier or five minutes later. Also, as with judging, there may be problems that are found on close examination of a dog that would not be visible from the ringside. Secondly, it’s obvious from the photographs on the Internet that some of the BOB winners which failed were indeed of more moderate conformation than some other dogs within that breed. It must have been particularly galling for those owners to fail. However, we weren’t being asked to judge whether a particular dog was better than the breed average; we only examined the winner, and if the winner still had a problem that affected its welfare on that day, our task was to say so.

If it displayed the least extreme conformation in its breed, then the judge had done the best job they could from the stock available, whatever the end result; and if the winner showed far more moderate conformation than would have been the case a few years ago, then that is still to be praised, even if there was still a problem.

One thing that I am angry about is that the media coverage is focused so exclusively on the dogs who unfortunately failed. I wish there were more attention on the dogs that were passed. Nine dogs were judged the best of their breed, passed as free from issues that were affecting their health and welfare, and went on to compete in their groups, with several being shortlisted by the group judges. Those breeds should be enormously proud of what they have achieved, because in many cases the winners were indeed of far less exaggerated conformation than they would have been a few years ago, which is a great cause for celebration.

Those breeders have done wonders. For example, even Jemima Harrison has written positively about the winning Bloodhound on her blog, which is remarkable. I was really glad to see ‘my’ Bloodhound in the big ring, moving soundly and with eyes free from discomfort. That’s what it should all be about.

It’s natural that emotions should be running high; change is often difficult. And it’s inevitable that there will be teething problems in a new and unprecedented process. Everyone who was involved in this endeavour will have learnt from it, and certainly there are some aspects of it that can be improved.

Will Jeffels and I strongly feel that the initiative is worthwhile, and we are continuing to support the KC in its efforts to promote healthier conformation. Dog showing is a sport, a hobby. The world would still spin on its axis if there were no dog shows. If we choose to spend our leisure time, or in some cases our careers, in the world of dog showing, we should remember that we wouldn’t be able to do it without the dogs, and the least we can do in return is to choose healthy body shapes for them to live their lives within.”

So the claim that these vets are anti-purebred dogs or animal rights activists is simply Dale Gribble conspiracy mongering.

They are very much supportive of purebred dogs and dog showing, which is why they would be the vets at a KC show of this stature in the first place.

This statement strongly suggests that much of the chest thumping about how healthy the dq’d dogs were is nothing more than spin or a simple misrepresentation  of the facts.

The Kennel Club wants to have relevance in the future. These vet checks for BOB winners are a step in the direction of long-term institutional legitimacy.

And as for all the talk of forming an FCI registry in the UK, will the implication of this new registry be that this is the registry that doesn’t care about the health of its dogs?

Good luck with that!

***

Of course, not well-received on the anti-PDE Facebook Group:

(Click to make larger).

That woman’s blog is Pedigree Dog’s Exposed. And I’d hardly call her statement about Jemima Harrison’s coverage of the bloodhound a ringing endorsement of her work.

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"Pekingese breeders are going to the gas chambers! Oh my!"

John D. French, the president of the Pekingese Club of America, thinks that taking away BOB from Palacegarden Bianca at Crufts this year is something akin to the Nazis’ conquest of Europe.  He left a bizarre message on his Facebook profile. In this message, he drags up the Winston Churchill analogy that so many foolish Americans like to throw out whenever they feel that someone is out to get them. The analogy comes across as little more than a paranoid rant. And yes, he does invoke the specter of the Holocaust, because he just can’t stop himself from going there:

I know that other lists have put out an email from AKC President, Dennis Sprung, about what is happening at Crufts. But I have the complete email conversation that Dennis’ email was taken from. It was sent to the AKC Delegate’s list, and I’m sure it is going to be discussed at the Delegate’s meeting this week.

This is just one more reason why I support the AKC in every way possible. Without the strength of the AKC and its leadership, what is happening in the UK could very well happen in the USA and around the world.

Even after receiving support and advice from AKC, The Kennel Club in the UK exercised very weak backbone when confronted by the animal rights attack and their BBC television program, and as a result, the fall out continues.

I was told by some UK Peke breeders that this decision to disqualify these breeds was determined before the show had actually started as it was rumored for weeks that “something” was going to happen. It has also been told to me that the KC is promoting actual legislation to ban certain breeds from the UK. And the Peke is one of them. If this is actually fact, then the Kennel Club in the UK has ceased to function in the best interests for the dogs, and the sport of pure bred dogs and ultimately the rights of all Brits. It will be the canine version of the Holocaust, and shame upon ultimate shame on the Kennel Club.

I am a student of history [just like Newt Gingrich!], and well remember when England was being savagely attacked by the Germans in The Blitz. The Brits fought back with everything they had to save their country. If they hadn’t, they would be singing a very different National Anthem today. So, where is that fighting for survival and civil liberties spirit in the British Peke breeders now?

When Lord Chamberlain came back from meeting with Hitler waving a piece of paper that ended up being worthless, what happened? Winston Churchill. If the Pekingese liaison to the Kennel Club isn’t fighting for the survival of the breed, the British Peke breeders can either be sheep and be driven off the cliff, or fight for the breed they say they love so much. Talk is cheap, actions speak volumes.

I have been a part of the British Peke world for a majority of my life and cannot for the life of me understand the lukewarm reaction from the British breeders this whole time. I always thought that the British people had civil rights and votes. Why am I not seeing it now?

May I remind the UK Peke breeders, when the Brits over here were being oppressed and unfairly treated and yes, discriminated against, they held a certain tea party in Boston that started a chain of events that changed the world. Guess what? I suggest you have a tea party.

As the 13 American colonies united to take matters into their own hands, so should the 15 breeds on the Kennel Club’s “hit list” do the same. This is your moment in time, the point of no return, war has been declared upon you and you are in the beginning of another Blitz. Either stand up and fight, or lose all respect from Pekingese lovers around the world.

I don’t have any problem signing my name to this post because I want all the UK breeders to know where I stand. WITH THE PEKINGESE!!!

Last I heard, David Cameron was going to set up secret prison camps to put all the Pekingese and bulldog breeders.

But you didn’t hear it from me.

LOL.

My God, these people are total head cases.

I hate to tell people this, but the Kennel Club is a private entity. Although it is a registry system, it also is the governing body for conformation shows in the United Kingdom. It’s not a government agency.

There is no big government telling the Kennel Club that it must have mandatory health checks for BOB winners in certain breeds.

This was the Kennel Club’s decision to have this rule for its conformation shows, not that of any government official. There is no evidence that the Kennel Club is pushing for more government regulation of dog breeders– at least that I know of.

Because we’re not talking about the government or state agency, is it too much to ask people to leave the Tea Party slogans out of this discussion?

At the very least, should we really respect people who want to compare everyone who disagrees with them Nazis?

All these people are doing is making themselves look like they need straight jackets and rubber rooms.

It would be funny, if these people weren’t taken so seriously by so many.

All that’s going on here is that the Kennel Club wishes to be relevant in the future. Clinging to past in such a bizarrely paranoid fashion means that you’re going down the tubes.

See related post:

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