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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Issue: 18/05/2018

Hit the spot!

I am an international champ show judge, KC member and very proud to be both. My husband died two years ago on Christmas day, and up until then he switched on his computer, I touched typed the message and he sent it, no problems. 
After his passing I gave his computer away, as I had a fax machine, BT landline and my 'idiots mobile' (very old, but still working!). I informed the Kennel Club there was no longer a computer in the house and said please don't try and send me any emails. 
I had the pleasure of judging three different breeds at champ show level last year. However, I was rather upset to receive a warning by post from the Kennel Club yesterday, to say I had not sent in my breed watch forms after my appointments. These were sent as always within a week of my judging. The Kennel Club in their letter said they have sent me a number of emails. The email address they used we changed years ago. 
Upon reading my dog paper today, I see the Kennel Club are giving judges the opportunity to email our critiques, at the moment it is not as they state essential to send this way. Not having a computer and the fax deciding to go to the big fax centre in the sky, does this mean I should I go and buy a computer and get myself lessons? 
My nearest library is 20 miles away and not open every day. Alan Hedges and myself have not always seen eye to eye but I have to say I find his letter printed today hits the spot perfectly for me  and many more. 
Yours etc
Jan Furneaux (Dajans)


Eye for a Dog pilot

When I first received the invite to apply for inclusion in the Pilot scheme, I did sit and think about whether to apply for it.  I was apprehensive about the unknown, what did they want from us?  The email contained comprehensive instructions on what was expected, so I thought I would apply and was successful in securing a slot.  
Confirmation and final details were sent the week before, and confirming again, exactly what was expected on the day.  So the day arrives, and you would think I would know what I am doing!  Of course not!  But we had a very comprehensive briefing by Adrian Marrett, who also introduced us to the Assessors, and also the team working with him for the day.  Jeff Horswell also went over what they expected from us.  Key words were "Say what you see".
Nine different breeds of dogs to go over, we watched movement as a group and then were split into pairs to go over the dogs.  We had Ruth Barbour and Gerald King watching over the proceedings, and plenty of runners who were more than willing to take paperwork off us.  Eleven minutes for two people to go over each dog and write your notes up.  
The day was extremely well run and relaxed; at the end I hoped I had written what they required. Was it outside the box? Yes.  Was it outside my comfort zone?- definitely.  Was it good, and made you think? totally.  They produced the results in record quick time, so thank you to the team.
Would recommend it for people to attend it, keep an open mind and 'say what you see'.
Yours etc
Marion Sargent


Disappointed

I am so bitterly disappointed with OD as to take time out to write to you regarding your ill-researched, knee-jerk, tabloid-level piece "BIS judges fail Eye For A Dog test" (on p2 of OD 11th May). Surely THE cardinal sin of journalism is to mislead its readers which this piece did for sure.
Those "BIS judges" that failed (part of the 35% in total) did so precisely because they DO have an eye for a dog! They had failed either to read or absorb the detailed info/specimen forms available in advance, and critiqued the nine dogs concerned in a breed specific way as against each breed standard, whereas the aim is to assess a candidates knowledge and competence for conformation and movement  in a NON-BREED SPECIFIC way:
"The assessment DOES NOT require any pre- knowledge of breed standards or breed specifics, but seeks to assess knowledge of conformation at the appropriate level for a judge awarding Kennel Club Challenge Certificates"
Kimmo Mustonen, the Chair of the Finnish KC Judges Committee, was present to ensure proper implementation of their scheme. HE assessed Messrs Horswell and Kane being his fellow markers. All candidates were "guinea pigs".
You are correct when you state the Finnish KC have only held one such assessment session in the last four years. Do you think that could possibly be because they only hold them at three year intervals?!!
You also knew full well (not least because you state it) that the status of these judges remains wholly unaffected prior to full implementation of the JCF.
This is currently a once in a judging lifetime requirement aimed principally at those who seek to award their first CCs, or to progress beyond, and provide an even playing field for all. The nine dogs are assessed on movement / head & neck / forequarters / body / hindquarters with five points to be identified in each. Further candidates are marked as to whether they look and perform as a judge should, including interaction with the exhibits / handlers.The pass mark has now been set at 70%. You "say what you see" so nothing is "nice" or "would prefer".
I confess that when I awarded MY first set of CCs I thought the withers was what was described as the "point of shoulder". That's the pointy bit at the top of the shoulder isn't it? No-one had told me otherwise.
We should be lauding this innovative move forward that is long overdue. I have lived through previous administrations content to accept Finnish (and other "foreign") freebie hospitality when judging abroad but adamantly refusing to acknowledge, let alone implement, anything that smacked of FCI in an insular UKIP/Remoaner kind of way!
Finally we are moving to a fairer system for another generation of judges of which Eye For A Dog is but one constituent part.
Yours etc                                      
Howard Ogden
ps. Yes, I did attend and pass the first ever session!

Thanks for that Howard, always happy to stand corrected. Ed.


Debates surroud all
breeds

In response to Lesley Roberts' letter re. Kim Lathaen column. 
Yes, the KC register was opened to JRTs who were currently on any UK based register. However some UK owners have been unable to register their terriers with the JRTCGB, we have also sadly lost the BJRTC which is now practically non-existent. 
Some of us are not in a position to and, quite frankly, do not wish to purchase an imported JRT, why should we when some of us have been breeding and working them for decades already. 
Therefore the new society has been formed to create an avenue for anyone wishing to continue to breed and potentially show their UK bred JRTs and also for those with a continued interest in working their terriers. 
Yes, Mrs Goldsworthy did show a British bred dog at Crufts 2017, however she has since bred a litter by a working sire and it's the progeny of these that she wished to KC register, as do other like minded owners. 
I really don't understand all the fuss that is being created around the new society, debates surround all breeds but surely we can all get along amicably and enjoy our breed together? 
Yours etc
Mrs Debra Kay


If it ain't broke....

So the KC has announced a website for judges' critiques. If the dog press has been successfully publishing critiques for ages, why change a perfectly good system, especially when it is going to cost them money?
If the intention is to bring in a charge for this service, or to raise the cost of show entry and puppy registration, amongst other things,to cover this, then the KC have got it wrong. Surely the old saying 'if it ain't broke, why fix it?', could be applied here.
The paper is a far better medium for reading critiques. I am certain that a lot of readers look at many different write-ups as a way of finding out what a judge thinks of other people's dogs, prior to going to a show under a particular judge. If this ends up being on-line only, I think people will not bother to search out the different critiques that may be of benefit to them.
However, following on from the KC's new code of conduct and the threat of 'termination' for daring to criticise them in any way, one can only assume that the KC will do as it likes, regardless of you and me.
Which begs the question. Why is the KC being so high and mighty with the very people that actually finance it? The exhibitor who pays for the show entry, the puppy seller who registers a litter, the canine societies and clubs who pay the KC licence fee are all keeping the KC going. And what do they get in return? A club that does not listen to them and threatens them when they criticize how it is run. And all the members of the KC pay a hefty sum for this "service" too!
Maybe its time to start a proper Kennel Club, one that everyone involved in dogs can be a part of, and to be proud to be a part of too.
Yours etc
Andrew Height


Thanks!

OUR DOGS have received many letters and comments regarding the Kennel Club move to publish show reports itself. Here are just a few from our Facebook page:

I'm old fashioned, but still like to put the printed critiques in a scrapbook. Much of the fun of showing will be lost to me if I can't do that ... KC take note...!
Hilary Chamberlain

It will be interesting to see whether Our Dogs and the Kennel Club differ their 'edits' and publish in the same week preferably AFTER critique has appeared in Our Dogs weekly newspaper. Keep up your good work OD2 and the rest of the OD Team.
Judith Petalam

It's ok the KC now offering this service, however it would be more prudent and beneficial of them to actually ensure that every judge did actually write up their critiques? This is a huge failing in the KC! They can't offer this service if judges aren't writing their critiques? 
Personally I prefer to read my weekly copy of Our Dogs, please keep up the hard work.
Neil Fergeson-Blakeley 

Just the KC moving in and making sure that eventually they will have the complete monopoly on the world of showing and breeding dogs!
Amanda Powell

I have taken Our Dogs since the late 50s, used to walk past the offices on Oxford Road Station Approach on my way to or from school! All critiques I have sent in over the years have always been printed correctly. I do not know if there will be any benefit having the KC getting in on the act, they have enough to do dealing with registrations, and all the other stuff they now do. Keep up the good work.
Anne Vickerstaff

I look forward to receiving Our Dogs paper and will continue to do so. I want a paper version for my scrapbook as I keep all my dog's critiques. Also I enjoy the articles.
There's no way I'm going to go to the KC website to read a critique.
Celia Bell 

Wouldn't be without my paper still prefer to have it in print, I started having Our Dogs in 1972!! So not going to stop now and will also continue to send in my Judging report. I think the KC is trying to take over everything! I think it's very sad the way the dog game is heading.
Roslyn Ellwood

Can't beat the printed word and not everybody is online. It's great to stick the write up in the scrapbook next to the card won.
Joy Baguley

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