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KC shake up for open shows

As widely rumoured in the last few weeks the Kennel club has announced its proposals to address the ailing open show scene. From January 2004 general canine societies will be restricted to one show per year without any ‘target’ class averages and there will be a new strata of Premier Open Show, best of breeds at which will qualify for Crufts show in the year 2005.

Issued Friday last and entitled ‘General Canine Society Open Shows’ the press release read:-
‘these days, Society in general and dog owners in particular demand not only value for money, but also quality of service. Furthermore, consistency of standards is also expected as a matter of routine.

‘With this in mind, the General Committee of the Kennel Club, through its Show Executive Sub-Committee, has been reviewing its show policies and the number of dog show licences issued each year as well as the number of dogs entered at these shows. Whilst the following new measures only affect General Canine Society Open Shows, the Kennel Club’s review of the show diary is continuing and is now turning towards an analysis of the breed club open show calendar where similar changes may be introduced at a later date.


‘It is well recognised that the UK show calendar has a very high number of shows and that many of these shows are not well supported. The low ratio of exhibitors to available classes has generally had a detrimental effect on the competitive nature of dog shows across the board.

‘In turn the incidence of such small classes has tended to reduce the value of the awards given. It is surely more satisfying to exhibitors for their dog to be first in a class having beaten six dogs - as opposed to winning over two dogs, one dog or no other dogs at all!

‘Following a great deal of consultation through the dog press, Kennel Club Liaison Councils, seminars, the Canine Events Conference and general correspondence, the General Committee has agreed to implement new show date allocation criteria and to introduce a new category of open show.


‘The General Committee wishes formally to acknowledge the achievement of those good open show societies which continually schedule successful, well attended shows.

‘Therefore a new category of open show titled the Premier Open Show, which carries with it a Crufts qualification for those dogs declared Best of Breed, will be available to societies, whose shows have regularly achieved an average class entry of 5 plus dogs. Each qualifying Best of Breed will receive a certificate (which the Kennel Club will provide to the Society), confirming Crufts qualification. In order to qualify for Crufts the breed/classification must schedule more than three classes (five classes for Stud Book Band E breeds).

‘Applications for Premier Open Show status will be subject to General Committee approval.

Details will need to be provided of the show venue and its facilities, the show management structure, the facilities provided for exhibitors, judges and trade stand holders, as well as any other features of the show which add to its success.


(effective for all shows held from 1st January 2004)

‘All General Canine Societies may apply for one open show per year. The current "three entries per class" requirement will no longer apply to this show if the society organises only one open show per year.

‘However, should a Society wish to schedule a second open show in any calendar year, it must show that it is able to attract a competitive entry. Therefore, a second open show licence will only be granted if the society's two most recent open shows (at the time of application) have achieved an average class entry of 4 dogs or more. The General Committee has agreed a dispensation for open shows held in Northern Ireland that the average class entry will be set at 3.5 for the second show date.

‘No General Canine Society will be eligible to schedule more than two shows per year.


‘This new approach will be effective for General Canine Society open shows scheduled in 2004. Show Societies will already have received show date application forms for 2004 open shows.

‘For those Societies which have already forwarded their requests, the Office will research the class averages of the two most recent open shows and will contact society secretaries to confirm how many show licence application forms will be issued.

‘For those society secretaries who have not yet forwarded their show date application forms, before making an application for a second open show date, a check of the Society’s last two open shows should be made. If the average entry is 4 dogs or above for each show, then the second show date application can be made.

‘If neither or only one of the most recent open shows has reached this total, then the society will be eligible for only one open show licence during 2004.


‘In making these decisions the General Committee has been mindful of the devastation of the dog show calendar last year due to the foot and mouth disease outbreak, and the consequent effect on show entries. Therefore, if a Society finds that its class average for last year’s show(s) is below 4, the class average for the equivalent show(s) in 2000 may be used.


‘It is believed the introduction of these measures will have a two-fold effect on the show scene. The removal of a number of poorly attended shows from the calendar will lessen the number of shows in any one area on the same day by making more free show dates available.

‘Consequently, a rationalisation of the number of exhibitors at each open show should be achieved.

‘With the introduction of new eligibility criteria for a second open show, those societies no longer eligible for two open shows, will be able to concentrate all their resources and efforts on their one show to increase that show’s competitiveness and attendance. This will also, it is hoped give judges valuable hands on experience.

‘Through the above initiatives, it is hoped that the objective of providing quality canine events can be achieved, and that the value of awards won will be enhanced. Of course, this is a long-term project, but with the support and enthusiasm of exhibitors, judges and show organisers, it is thought that there will be widespread benefits in the years to come.’