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Good turnout for ‘absorbing’ Canaan seminar

The seminars available these days are many and varied writes Juliette Cunliffe. The sad thing is that those of us who want to learn more about breeds other than those that are very familiar to us, rarely have sufficient days available in our calendar to fit in all those we would like to attend.

The Canaan Dog Club was therefore fortunate to have a very respectable number of attendees at an event for such a numerically small breed, and a fair proportion of those present were all-round judges.

Hailing from Israel, the Canaan Dog is of pariah type, and rather different from the majority of breeds we encounter in the showring today. It was registered in the UK in 1970 but little progress was made until the latter part of the1980s, and I can indeed recall some shows when just a single Canaan, or perhaps a couple, were present. The vast majority of exhibitors hadn’t a clue what they were! Mercifully that has now been rectified, for this is a breed that is very deserving of interest.

The Canaan Dog Club seminar organisers provided everyone with a substantial folder of informative ‘goodies’. Such is always appreciated, for most of us like to go home and digest what we have learned during the day. Our digestive juices may not have the chance to get to work immediately, but you can be sure that most of us store away information like this so that it can be retrieved at a moment’s notice. The pictorial references in the ‘Illustrated Breed Standard’, will undoubtedly be of great help as a refresher.

The speakers for the day were Ellen and Richard Minto, Richard providing an interesting resumé of their experience in the breed. There were a few tense moments when it was discovered that information was not being transmitted from lap-top to large screen, but we all moved in a little closer and watched the lap-top itself. ‘Cosy’, one might say! The videos presented no problem, and we were all interested in seeing Canaans in their native environment I’m sure.

The talk was thoroughly absorbing, and little gems like the fact the tail is thick and brush-like to act as an air filter when the head is buried beneath the tail during a sandstorm, were of invaluable help. It is details such as this that are so important when assessing a breed in the ring, so that features necessary for a breed’s survival are not overlooked.

Acceptable

But the talk was not without controversy, for the ‘Proposed Revised Breed Standard’ was discussed in comparison with the current interim standard, as recognised by the Kennel Club in 1997. Here is not the place to go into detail about this, but the subject of which colours are and are not acceptable will surely be a subject of debate for many years to come.

After the morning’s lecture, with opportunity for questions and comment, we were all treated to a delicious lunch prepared by the committee. It was just as well that our bodily needs were thus sustained, for it was bitterly cold outside when we all ventured out to assess some dogs and to watch their movement. It was good that the Mintos pointed out which dogs were still being shown, and which were retired, so that those of us who were likely to officiate in the centre of the ring fairly soon, could restrict our enthusiasm for hands-on experience as prudent.

The cup of hot tea when we got inside once again was as welcome as any cup of tea can ever have been, and the cakes flowed freely, even for our journeys home. Undoubtedly the day provided much food for thought and we all drove away rather wiser about this special breed. As with any seminar,
conscientious students will carefully digest its content and will carefully sift through the information imparted. Very grateful thanks are due to all those who worked so hard to put on the event.