of the worries we should have
about breeding and showing dogs is that unfortunately, excesses of one
kind or another often take over, sometimes to the detriment of the dogs
themselves. In certain people's eyes if something is good in a breed,
more of its is better.That is, of course, certainly not always the
case. Whether this is excessive skin folds in some breeds, presentation
and coat barbering in others, over angulation or wide skulls and narrow
pelvises in some or sheer obesity masqueradng as substance in yet
others - excess is rarely a good thing for any breed in the long run.
What, if anything, can and should the Kennel Club do about this?
to now it has, through its Group working on the European Convention
for the Protection of Pet Animals, encouraged and exhorted breeds and
judges to tackle health issues before some civil servant or
European beureaucrat does it for them. Some breeds have responded well
to this encouragement but other have been slower to react. That is a
matter which will continue to be tackled into the future and the Kennel
Club will be unrelenting in its approach to this important issue.
is that enough? It has been suggested that, both from a temperament
and a physical point of view, exaggeration could be prevent if the link
between form and function were to be reinforced in all breeds in a more
positive and proactive way. The suggestion has been made that if
passing some form of test, linked to function, were to be made
mandatory before any dog could become a full Champion - not just a Show
Champion - then a notable improvement would be seen. This would be
similar to the situation in Gundogs and in Border Collies where dogs
cannot be called "Champion" until they have passed a test for working
ability. Until then they can only be called "Show Champion". How this
would apply to the individual breeds would require to be worked out and
how that would work for companion dogs I hesitate to think. However, I
think it is right to float the idea in principle and to ask what people
think of the concept?
argue that this does not go far enough and the Show Champion rule
in Gundogs has done nothing to preven the increasing divergence of show
and working types, particularly in some spaniels and retrievers. So
should the ruling perhaps be even more draconian and demand that a dog
cannot become even a Show Champion without demonstrating its ability to
fulfil the breedâ€™s original function?
have my own views on these ideas but the range of general opinion of
dog people on this is sought. Those who want to express their views on
the issue should write in to Caroline Hallett at the Kennel Club, and
these will be taken into consideration when this matter is discussed in
thing is certain and that is that if exaggeration continues in some
breeds at as fast a rate in the next 50 years as it has in the last 50,
some of them will undoubtedly become extinct"
Irvine, Chairman KC
October 2006, Kennel Gazette