‘Bent’ judges: (Part 3) the debate continues

Is it fair to say that the Kennel Club is not doing enough to prevent 'bent' judging?

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Fact or fiction?

Following our leading feature article, we have been inundated with comments and responses from readers.

We feature here some longer statements made either by letter or in our breed notes.

We know the Kennel Club is very interested in seeing and hearing people’s views, so why not let them know through this page. We will be featuring the best of your letters and e-mails over the next few weeks.

Constructive comments on how YOU would tackle the problem are particularly requested.

We can all give examples of the problem and say it exists, it’s what to do about it that’s the difficult bit.

We welcome all letters to the Editor by email, fax or letter.

Please reply to: ourdogsedit@lineone.net

• Tel: 08707 31 65 00 • Fax: 08707 31 65 01

I am delighted that Our Dogs has highlighted the judging issue, but I am of the opinion that most poor judging is the result of insufficient knowledge or peer pressure, rather than twenty pound notes handed over behind the benching tent. The recent comment of someone whose opinion I value very highly is indicative of the problem. They inform me that in discussions with top judges you seldom hear the detail of why one dog is better than another or a discussion of its good points. Rather, when asked why they put a particular dog up they respond with, 'Well, it’s done a lot of winning'.

Of course, there will people who swap appointments and repay favours - we live in a society where this is not uncommon in or out of the ring. But this does not mean that the majority is dishonest. I prefer to think that most judges do the best that they can and believe that many, if not most, do.

The article in the Kennel Gazette indicates that the KC knows that some judging is ‘bent’ but it also recognises that it is extremely difficult to prove. I think that it is pretty safe in promising action if any evidence is provided. Some years ago there was a formal police investigation into the problem but no one was ever charged. The same result would be probable today. There is plenty of ‘statistical’ evidence but, of course, providing a direct link in any one case that shows anything other than co-incidence is virtually impossible.

If the News of the World could be persuaded that the issue could be made into a sufficiently juicy story, perhaps one of their undercover reporters could investigate!

David Cavill

‘Nothing has changed’

Have I been asleep for twenty five years?
Have I just landed on this planet?
Is The Kennel Club now looking at judges who may be less than honest in their capacity to make or break a dog’s showing career?
Is it really possible that an exhibitor can travel hundreds of miles, at the same time incurring considerable expense, and not be aware that the ‘ticket’ has already been earmarked for a particular dog and owner?

Those doggie folk who have been around for a while will recall, albeit with some effort, the furore within dog showing in the late 1970’s. Do they remember the guy who, with the assistance of journalists from a national newspaper, and subsequent New Scotland Yard investigation, attempted to lift the lid on widespread corruption in the world of dogs?
I can remember him... it was me, and nothing has changed.

David J Stevens, Northampton

II would just like to say yes, I do believe judges are bent. I don’t think I have yet been to a dog show where we - the other exhibitors - are not told who is to get the tickets on the day. 9 out of 10 times is proved to be the case, one can place the dogs before you even go in the ring. the columnists wonder why the entries for shows are decreasing like they are.

People get fed up of spending hard earned money for nothing.

Juliet Bumstead

I am replying about bent judges, and yes, they do exist - and plenty of them. I attended an open show a few weeks back with my staffords. before going in the ring i was told not to hope for much as the gentleman who was sitting next to me would get first in the puppy class. Into the class we all went, 9 of us all together, and low and behold said puppy got first. i was placed 4th and my bitch’s litter sister second. We stayed to watch the rest of the judging and said puppy got best pup and best of breed.

Although i did well in the placings was a bit miffed. Then a few weeks later it all started to ring true. upon attending a breed champ show, the dog concerned was next to me with its owner and... the judge that gave it best pup and best of breed! They were sitting watching the judging and said judge walked in the class with said pup, i was told they quite often handle the bitch, well? say no more! are judges bent, yes! It’s such a pity to other people who pay their money and expect a fare chance best regards

Gwen Hazeldine

There is and always has been a majority of dog judges who are, as you call it, 'bent' in their judging.

Most do it to gain further judging appointments by favouring committee members, including Show Secretaries. Using the old saying "You scratch my back and i'll scratch yours".

Maggie Down and myself are no longer invited to judge our favourite breeds, because we flatly refuse to 'scratch' the backs of the 'right people' nod nod - wink wink!

Bruce MacDonald, Cheney Great Danes

National Great Dane Helpline

These days, one can hardly pick up any ‘dog magazine’ without reading of complaints regarding falling entries at shows, frequently blaming judging standards as the root cause.

Although I am rarely in the ring myself, I do attend a fair number of shows in the capacity of carrier of cages, bags and other bits and bobs for my wife, and as such am usually at the ringside watching what goes on.

Yes, there is favouritism. We will all have seen it, but it is a thing which would be very difficult to prove. There is incompetence. Maybe not so hard to prove, but who complains to the show secretary? Not many! Then there are the judges who are both competent and honest. Sadly, not many.

Speaking as a bystander I will say that poor judging is definitely one of the causes of falling entry numbers. We all know that the judge’s decision is final, and no one minds being beaten by a better dog. But it is a bitter pill to swallow when the rosettes are given to rubbish because of dishonesty and incompetence.

Patrick Newman


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