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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Issue: 19/01/2018

More incentive needed

As an exhibitor that has also shown, handled and titled dogs in Europe, the USA and South Africa, I really think that we need to get over the myth that the UK Champion title is the most respected.
Frankly, I have never heard or experienced it. The AKC doesn't even recognise the title when you register a dog with them (which you have to if showing for more than two weeks). 
We need to get over ourselves, no wonder the Brexit vote won! 
Showing is just a hobby and a very expensive one at that. If we cannot trust our judges to withhold the CC if they do not consider the exhibit worthy, then they should not be judging. Neither should quality dogs be blocked by 'follow my leader' judging.
The atmosphere at most European Shows is definitely more relaxed, there is less feeling of frustration. Meanwhile exhibitors here are draining away, while in Europe the situation is that many more young people are entering the ranks. If it becomes easier to title a good dog that is no bad thing.
Top Dog competitions are not always a plus. Papering your loo with CCs is not necessarily good for the health of the show ring. If there must be a Top Dog competition for breeds, make it on Group placings, although in themselves they are of limited value, except to fuel the competitive fire of some exhibitors!
I for one would did love to see CCs per dog limited in number and three RCCs to count for a CC. I see absolutely no point in a Champion class as proposed by the KC.
Exhibitors need more incentive to spend an increasingly limited amount of disposable income otherwise the title really will be diminished as fewer and fewer dogs compete.
Yours etc,
Jo Amsel

Well done

I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 2018 Our Dogs Annual and happened to come across the 1997 and 1987 editions. I read a most interesting article by David Cavill on the topic of the Dog Genome. Did he have a crystal ball in his possession? The article was so up to date it was quite scary!
I had heard that this year the Annual would be a bumper edition. It exceeded even my expectations when such a large package was delivered by my postman. I think it deserves the 'mega' title due to its sheer size! I have always enjoyed a glass of wine and a few nibbles when pouring over the glossy advertisements and various articles written by canine luminaries. This year I was unable to complete the task in just one day, in fact it took me three days to get from cover to cover! It was well worth the investment of time as far as I was concerned.
There was a plethora of superb articles about international shows and the quality of the photography in many instances literally took my breath away. I have favourite photographers and I eagerly anticipate their compositions in the Annual and, this year, I certainly was not disappointed. Over the years, thanks to Photoshop (other programmes are also available, I know) even my amateur shots can be enhanced to a fairly high quality, but they blend into insignificance when the true photographic artists get to work. It certainly pays dividends to commission an advert from a professional.
Thanks once again to the team at Our Dogs who compile this wonderful publication which results in my enjoying several glasses of decent wine whilst devouring all 500+ pages. You set yourselves high standards and, year on year, you are able to surpass them! I can't wait until the 2019 edition is published. For those of you who have not yet purchased the 2018 Annual, treat yourselves. You don't know what you are missing!
Yours etc
Stuart Band

Great benefactors

The excellent article by Valerie Foss on the Send Gold Vases brought to mind the halcyon days between the two Great Wars.
It proved to be an era for Great Danes, not seen before or will be again. The rivalry between two 'giants' of great wealth. One a 'self made millionaire, he was able to buy the Strand Theatre. The other from a great dynasty, Ranks the Millers. One could perhaps liken them to Alan Sugar and Richard Branson of the 21st Century!!!
Gordon Stewart was the Patron of William Morris, an engineer who designed a car he thought would sell for a price range within the average family budget. Having no wealth himself, Gorden Stewart raised a loan to enable fifty Models to be produced, (something perhaps, that would appeal to Dragons Den today?). Gordon Stewart then formed the franchise Stewart And Arden, Main Agents for all Morris Cars from that time forward. 
J Arthur Rank and James V Rank were brothers. Arthurbecame Lord Rank, the film mogul and James set the Great Dane in his sights. His ambition was to breed the best specimens in the world.
Just to make one's mind boggle, Rank Ouborough imported 28 Great Danes, mainly from Germany between, 1921-1936. The National Breed of Germany, the Americans also were able to find at that time in the country of the breed's origin and development, the very best examples. 
Stewart imported no fewer than 55 specimens from 1926-1936. At the outbreak of World War Two, Rank became in charge of the 'bread basket' of the Country, whilst Stewart took over the responsibility of supplying Military 'rolling stock'.
By 1936, both Kennels had imported sufficient blood to develop their own strains. Rank's Kennel continued after the War, until his death in the the mid fifties. Stewart never returned to the show ring, although he attended the first post war Great Dane Breeders Championship Show,held at Seymour Hall in London.  
Both men died within in a short while of each other, in the 'prime of life', and neither receiving an honour. 
Whilst William Morris became the enobled Lord Nuffield, one of the richest men on the planet, leaving a legacy as one of the all time greatest benefactors. 
Yours etc
Jean Lanning

The way forward

For a large majority of exhibitors, the chances of ever winning a CC are zero.  The best they can hope to attain is first place in their class, and the opportunity to take part in the challenge, knowing  they will get no further than that, but still enjoying the experience. 
When they know they stand no chance because, time after time, they are up against the same big winning dog, they stop entering.  That is why so many people want a champions class, with the champions banned from entering open, but still eligible to compete in the challenge.  
If this was done, it would give many people something more to aim at, add excitement and enjoyment to their showing experience, and encourage them to enter more shows.  The result would be the exact opposite of what Ronnie Irving is suggesting.
I think he has completely missed the point. The winner of the champion class would still be able to compete in the challenge, and if a dog from a different class won the CC it would have had to beat the cream of the champions to do so, completely negating the whinges about 'cheap champions.'
To do this would have the effect of increasing entries at shows, and must be the way forward.
Yours etc
Steve Matthewson

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