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Updated 14/9/01

The British Teach-In
by Jack Mitchell

Sunday August 12th was the day The British Pekingese Club held its Teach-In at Birdwell Community Centre near Barnsley. This was the third such event run by the club for the benefit of anyone who is interested in the breed and wishing to gain in-depth information with the advantage of being able to handle dogs with instruction.

On arrival and after signing in wine and biscuits were available before our MC Chris Clay gave a warm welcome to everyone, followed by an introduction to our four championship judges Heather Dearn, Dorothy Dearn & Joyce and Jack Mitchell, who then went with their dogs one to each corner.

The four speakers from left to right:
Mrs Joyce Mitchell, Mr Jack Mitchell, Heather Dearn and Mrs Dorothy Dearn.

The programme started at 11am, the candidates were divided into four groups each with a championship show judge who went over their dog giving guidance and explaining their view of the breed. An opportunity was given for each group to handle that particular dog that had been used by the judge on which to demonstrate. Each judge then moved round to the next corner with their dogs so that eventually everyone got the opportunity to hear the views of all four speakers. We thought it would save time if the speakers moved round instead of the people moving as was previously the practice.

Following this, eight dogs were put on a long table, candidates were asked to go over each one and speak to the handler for advice regarding that particular dog which hopefully would result in further knowledge being gained. The club were determined that at this teach-in candidates would have plenty opportunity to handle dogs of different quality, in fact we had two pekes that were clipped out showing the frame as it really is, quite different without coat and furnishings. The construction, the make and shape made it clear what should be under the huge coats that we are used to seeing nowadays.

By this time our MC invited everyone to take lunch, which was without a doubt a very impressive spread making us rather spoilt for choice especially for those who have to look after their figure (that doesn't include me!) Thanks to Maureen Grant and all her staff for preparing and serving such a lovely meal. What would we do without these workers who spend most of the day in the kitchen? We are very grateful to them all.

Feeling rather prosperous after such a good meal we all sat down to watch Margaret Hughes give a very detailed grooming demonstration showing how she prepares her Ch Sachiko Golden Peace for the showring. Several questions were asked and one that frequently crops up was put to the speaker: "Do you bath your dog?" Tthe answer was "Yes, I bath him before every show." There are many different views on this subject but after saying that it is the end result that matters and there is no question how well Margaret's dogs look in the ring. We certainly don't want dirty dogs to judge. It was nice to see the end result which was an object lesson to all who keep Pekingese.

Following this Chris Clay spoke to us on rules and regulations with the assistance of a large screen. Chris has had much experience at stewarding at all levels so this subject was dealt with in great detail, stewarding being a requirement when you have to fill in a questionnaire to award CC's for the first time.

The certificate that each candidate received on departure is acceptable by the KC to go on your questionnaire. The stipulation from the KVC is that you must attend a seminar given by a KC accredited trainer covering show regulations, proceedings and movement. This applies to first time applicants only and can take place at any club seminar.

Using Ch Sachiko Golden Peace Joyce Mitchell then gave some suggestions on the process of how to judge Pekingese. The first impression is very important: look at the dog overall, from all angles. To the head, remembering never to pull the ears down as so many judges do, then look at the eyes, nostrils, mouth and muzzle (all featured in the standard); this produces the typical expression. The front comes next, feel for width of chest and depth, short thick bowed legs correctly set, big feet turning outwards, feel for the short thick neck, level back, short but not too short, good rib cage, tail well set on, near hindquarters, definitely not too wide behind but not too close, a scissor action is required. To get the real movement the body must be pear shaped, wide in front and closer behind. Pekingese should not have a shuffling movement.

The chairs were then placed to leave an aisle down the centre of the hall for Margaret to move her dog. This she did several times so that everyone could see the steady dignified rolling movement. At this stage it was pointed out that a shuffling movement is incorrect, there being no comparison to the true movement. Following this the four speakers took centre stage for a question and answer session in which candidates were encouraged to take part; I might say the majority of questions came from candidates who are not in the breed which I thought very encouraging. It was quite obvious that people had listened to what the speakers had previously discussed with them in the morning and at this point were seeking further clarification. It all went down really well with lots of compliments being paid both on and after the day especially regarding the number of dogs that were there for the hands on session. The club was determined that candidates would get plenty opportunity to handle dogs of different quality and to seek advice from the handler.

By this time tea and coffee was available but people were more interested in standing around talking before leaving for home with hopefully some knowledge of the breed to add to their store. To everyone who helped in any way, to those who gave to the very successful raffle, the British are very grateful indeed. We look forward to seeing you all at our forthcoming shows.