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(Updated 11/4/01)

KC Charitable Trust Appeal

Readers will be aware that the Chairman of The Kennel Club's Charitable Trust Appeal, Peter Mann, has been busily trying to raise over 1,000,000 by 1 March 2002 for the Charitable Trust Appeal. On Sunday 1 April, a day of seminars was arranged by Nick Farrugia, one of The Kennel Club's Information Officers, with the sole intention of raising money for The Trust.

The venue for this seminar was the Charrington Bowl at Tolworth, Surrey which proved to be an excellent location with plenty of room for the 60 delegates, who had travelled from far and wide to listen to the respected speakers.

The day started at 10am with Brian Leonard, the former Kennel Club External Affairs Executive and co-owner of the Yeosinga Chihuahuas talking about the Breeding and Sales of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999, which was one of the last projects he undertook at The Kennel Club before his retirement. Brian discussed the intricacies of the legislation and rounded off his talk by telling the audience to consider contacting organisations such as The Kennel Club or the British Dog Breeders Association should they be concerned regarding the Act and how it may affect them.


Next on the agenda was Jeff Sampson, The Kennel Club's Canine Geneticist. As someone who has shown, bred and judges dogs, Jeff is aware of the concerns of dog breeders and he requested that enthusiasts take responsibility to address the problems within their breed by implementing DNA research and relevant health schemes, which can be achieved with the help of The Kennel Club and other bodies such as the British Veterinary Association, the Animal Health Trust and Cambridge Veterinary School. To date, there are about 40 different gene tests available throughout the world, which will allow breeders greater freedom to choose appropriate breeding stock, especially if the gene pool is limited. Clearly DNA testing is the way forward, but as Jeff states, these tests will not take over breeding practices but are available to be used to help you.

The next speaker was Meg Purnell-Carpenter of Overhill Quarantine Kennels to discuss kennel management. Meg is known as one of the original importers of the Akita into the UK, and is very enthusiastic about her newest breed, the Beauceron!. Having owned boarding kennels for 44 years and quarantine kennels for some 17 years Meg was very well qualified to discuss this topic with such a wealth of knowledge to impart. Meg covered topics such as kennel management, staffing, job training, feeding regimes and settling the dogs in at the kennels.

The last speaker before lunch was gundog expert Valerie Foss, whose duty it was to run through and discuss The Kennel Club's Canine Conformation & Movement Video. Val is one of The Kennel Club's Accredited Trainers, and it is now part of their directive that any new CC judge must have attended one of these training seminars. Val has been involved in dogs for over 40 years, awards CC's in 32 breeds, and has bred or owned 16 show champions in Golden Retrievers and English Setters. She is also the author of nine books - her experience therefore speaks for itself! Val discussed canine confirmation and type, soundness, breed points, fitness for function, structure and presentation. After her talk, each attendee was given a certificate of attendance.

After a buffet lunch, Gerald King, also a Kennel Club Accredited Trainer and the Crufts Show Director, spoke about Kennel Club rules on stewarding and judging, and imparted several of his own amusing experiences as a steward along the way! Gerald felt that, above all, a good judge should possess both a 'keen eye' and integrity. He took the audience through how a judge should prepare and act prior, during and after an appointment - important information that is covered in The Kennel Club's Guide to Judges. The subject of critiques was also raised with some attendees believing that it should become part of the three part contract that a judge must write a critique for the dog press.

This is already undertaken by some societies and food for thought for others. A quick talk on the roles of a ring steward followed, with Gerald explaining that you can gain much ring experience from these appointments, especially studying how other judges perform. To sum up his talk, Gerald stressed that potential judges and stewards should gain as much experience as possible, particularly through seminars, before embarking on this next step in their hobby.

Graham Foote, who is an experienced exhibitor, breeder and judge of Chihuahuas was next up to discuss judges critiques. When preparing a critique, Graham recommended taking plenty of notes and if using a dicta-phone, ensuring that there is enough life left in the batteries! Say what you see was his opinion, and do not guess or rely on your memory to tell you. The audience agreed that there is nothing more frustrating for an exhibitor to read a critique on their dog which clearly does not describe that particular dog at all! It was also emphasised that the better you know your breed and breed standard, the better your critique should be. As Graham says, you can learn a great deal and access the judges expertise by reading these reports.


Next up was Kennel Club staff member Sue Evans, who talked about the new Accreditation of Dog Training Instructors Scheme. Sue has a wealth of dog training experience and explained that this new scheme is about qualifying dog trainers in the UK to ensure that a standard of quality in dog training is given to the public. Sue explained that the scheme aims to provide educational guidance to instructors, to promote and maintain high standards of training and to establish a national register of instructors. This scheme was launched in March and has already attracted a great deal of interest as potential candidates are aware of just how much this initiative will benefit the world of dogs.

The final speaker of the day was Sarah Harrod MRCVS, BVSc who works at Pedigree Masterfoods at Waltham and it was her remit to talk about the advances in canine nutrition. Sarah explained that nutrition in dogs has only really been researched over the last 20 years, and only recently has it been understood what the basic energy requirements are. Amongst other topics, Sarah explained that dental disease is the most common disease in the dog and a high ratio are affected by it. Whilst one can now purchase toothbrushes to assist in cleaning teeth, Sarah feels that 'kibble' has now been designed to increase chewability, thus helping to prevent the build up of tartar, which may lead eventually to tooth loss. Sarah also explained in some detail that supplements in foods also help to provide healthy skin and coats and to aid digestive and oral problems.

Nick Farrugia said "It just goes to show the genuine interest that we have in learning more about our hobby, and the respect that these speakers command when people are prepared to travel such distances. I am delighted to say that we raised over nine hundred pounds for the Charitable Trust Appeal and the feedback I have received this week has been extremely positive!"


Pauline Baines, one of the seminar attendees summed up the day in an email to Nick on Monday which said, "Thanks again for such a stimulating day and for all the hard work that must have driven it to such a successful culmination; you indeed, had a very appreciative audience. I hope you get a day off in lieu...!"

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust (registered charity no. 327802) was created in 1989 and since its inception grants totalling more than 1,000,000 have been disbursed to a variety of deserving causes such as research projects, veterinary surgeon and nursing bursaries, specialist studies and canine charities. On the 3rd October 2000, The Kennel Club launched its Charitable Trust Appeal - the aim of which is to raise 1,000,000 by March 2002. The money obtained will continue to directly benefit dogs through charitable donations and research grants. Please help us with this investment in the future of canine welfare. As dog owners, we have a responsibility to the future health and welfare of our canine friends.

Contact us at: The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, 1 Clarges Street, London W1J 8AB, Tel:020 7518 1029