Sit Thomas More
Our regular readers know we have this love/hate relationship with the British. We can’t help it. Ever since Henry the VIII beheaded his Lord Chancellor, our 14th great grandfather, Sir Thomas More, we have longed for reconciliation and revenge. Actually, we no longer want revenge. We figure moving Madonna to England was enough.
While we admire the way the British do most things, recently we have had some issues with the British and their take on purebred dogs. Just a few years ago we looked forward to Crufts, the Kennel Club’s (a somewhat presumptuous title we will cede to the British) almost as much as we do the Westminster Kennel Club show. Crufts has a lot to recommend it. It is very old. Their first all breed show was held in 1891. It is very big. This year’s show has more than 20,000 dogs entered. And, whatever issues we have, they know how to run a big event. The British have been doing grand events for a millennium.
However, the British consider public brawls uncivilized and have refused to fight back the animal rights extremists. Things started getting out of hand in 2008 after the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) aired “The Purebred Dog Exposed”, an anti-breeder a propaganda piece that created a firestorm on both sides of the Atlantic. The anti-purebred sentiment resulted in the BBC refusing to air the broadcast of Crufts after more than 50 years of covering the show. In an act of appeasement not seen since Neville Chamberlain, the Kennel Club agreed to alter several of its breed standards to address the health issues exploited by the BBC film. However, that was not sufficient to satisfy those extremists who wanted to rid the registry of breeds that did not meet their definition of a healthy dog.
Last year Crufts singled out 15 “High Profile” breeds that would have to go through a second judge, a veterinarian, AFTER being selected Best Of Breed before they could compete in their respective group competitions. The targeted breeds included the Basset Hound, the Bloodhound, the Bulldog, the Chinese Crested, the Chinese Shar-Pei, the Chow Chow, the Clumber Spaniel, the Dogue de Bordeaux, the French Bulldog, the German Shepherd Dog, the Mastiff, the Neapolitan Mastiff, the Pekingese, the Pug and the Saint Bernard. Last year the Basset Hound, the Bulldog, the Clumber Spaniel, the Mastiff, the Neapolitan Mastiff and the Pekingese all had their breed wins revoked. The disqualification of the Pekingese, PalaceGarden Bianca, was a shot across the bow of American breeders as another PalaceGarden Peke, GCH CH PalaceGarden Malachy, had just been awarded BIS at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club show. European breeders were similarly disrespected when the multi-titled Clumber Spaniel, AM/DK/H/BIH/SCG/A/LUX CH Chervood Snowsun, failed her vet check despite being armed with two separate veterinarian reports establishing her worthiness.
The Canine Alliance was formed shortly thereafter to begin a dialogue with The Kennel Club over the vetting process. The CA reported that the KC was initially, “..RUDE, DISMISSIVE AND UNACCEPTABLE.” (sic) Later meetings had shown some promise, but as of now the KC is insisting that positive improvements in the health of the targeted breeds be statistically proven before they will even entertain a request that a breed be removed from the list. The Kennel Club has removed the Chinese Crested, but the remaining breeds will face the vet before advancing. The good news is that four of the seven groups have been judged and all of the breed winners have passed their vet checks. We encourage our readers to go to the CruftsYou Tube page and watch the breed/group videos for themselves and let us know whether the breed winners are maintaining breed type despite the revised standards and vet checks.
For Thursday’s Crufts results see my Back Story piece over on Best In Show Daily. Today’s Groups were the Utility Group, somewhat comparable to our Non-Sporting Group, and the Toy Group. First up was judge Frank Kane’s Utility Group. The Kennel Club’s version of our Non-Sporting Group includes all three Poodle varieties, both the Standard & Miniature Schnauzer and two German Pinschers (Klein & Mittel) and Japanese Inu (Akita & Shiba). In addition to the Schnauzers & Toy Poodle, it also has some imports from other groups, the Akita, the Canaan Dog. In return it exports the Bichon Frise and Lowchen to the Toy Group. Judge Kane’s Top Four were the Tibetan Terrier, Kybo Pandarama, the Japanese Shiba Inu, CH Vormund Norma Jean, the Standard Poodle, DK/SE/FI CH Abica’s Mile Ahead, and the Dalmatian, CH Offordale Chevalier JW.
CH Maibee Theo
The Toy Group, apart from the aforementioned Bichon & Lowchen, looks pretty much like our own…Well, at least it has most of the same breeds. Yes, they already have the Bolognese & Coton de Tulear and, yes, they change up the names a bit, e.g. Griffon Bruxellois & Black & Tan English Toy Terrier, but the real change up is the impact of the ban on cropping ears and docking tails. While the long tailed Yorkshire Terrier exuded breed type, the bat eared MinPin with a long tailed looked disquietly like the Toy Manchester, er, English Toy Terrier. Also interesting was the sans topknot Shih Tsu. The one judge Liz Cartledge liked the best was the King Charles Spaniel, CH Maibee Theo. She also placed the Italian Greyhound, CH Dalinset Sarastro, the Yorkshire Terrier, CH Royal Precious JP'S F4 Juliana, and the Pomeranian IR CH Belliver Unexpected Target.
With two days, we have high hopes for some movement toward reconciliation. Maybe the British will even forgive John Hancock for signing the Declaration of Independence ?