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Kennel Club insist on weighing rule

In September 2007 the Kennel Club changed rule 21-k (and related regulations) of the specific show regulations concerning the weighing of Miniature Dachshunds removing the mandatory requirement that they must be weighted and that only those dogs under 5kg (11lbs) could be shown, the Kennel Club view was that some exhibitors were not feeding their dogs properly to ensure that they did not go overweight and this requirement did not sit well with the KC’s commitment to ‘promote in every way, the general improvement of dogs’.

The breed standard now reads: Size: Ideal weight: 9-12 kgs (20-26 lbs). Miniature ideal weight; 4.5kgs (10lbs). Desired maximum weight 5kgs (11lbs). Exhibits which appear thin and undernourished should be severely penalised. The Kennel Club explained that this did not mean that Miniature Dachshunds could not be weighted but that they need not be weighed.

The Dachshund clubs were not happy.

They felt that the KC’s decision implied that Dachshund breeders and exhibitors did not look after their dogs properly and that it would also gradually increase the size of the breed. Len Hammond, told Our Dogs that he had personally taken the matter up the KC Chairman, Ronnie Irving at the time. He told him he had been judging Miniature Dachshunds for many years and had only once come across a dog he considered to be too thin. He wanted to know where the information had come from that exhibitors were deliberately keeping the weight of their dogs artificially low – who had complained? ‘Answer came there none’, he tells us

The clubs themselves circulated all societies and all judges on their lists encouraging them to continue to weigh and Judy Squire, President of the Miniature Dachshund Club told Our Dogs. ‘We were extremely pleased with the response. All societies who replied agreed to continue to weigh and only one specialist and one non specialist judge said that they would not be prepared to do so.

As a result of the these changes the KC now insists that if a committee decided that Dachshunds are to be weighted at a show the organisers must ensure a note is placed within the breed classification that weighing will take place so that exhibitors are aware their dogs will be weighed. It is also a requirement that the judge must know the dogs must be weighted and agrees in writing that he or she will comply. In practice, this means is that whereas in the past dogs would not have been allowed to enter the ring if they were over 5 kg, they can now be assessed in the class and can win if the judge believes that their qualities outweigh (sorry but we could not resist ED) the fact that they are marginally too heavy.

It appears that some societies have not been following these requirements so the Kennel Club has now circulated a press release clarifying the situation and emphasising if Miniature Dachshunds are to be weighed, a certified weighing machine must be provided, a notice informing exhibitors must be included at the beginning of the breed classification and that the contract of a person judging must include in the invitation and in their reply that the breed will be weighed. It is not enough to include the statement in the show regulations (a tacit admission that people do not read them, perhaps?) so even under Not Separately Classified Classes (and special classes where the dog might not have been judged within the breed such as Champion or Veteran Special Stakes classes for instance) the notification must be made.

Zena Thorn-Andrews, the Dachshund representative on the KC Breed Council, told Our Dogs, ‘The best dogs are fit and healthy and their weight is not an issue but it is very important that exhibitors know if they are to be weighed before they enter the show.’

She also made another important point which she hopes judges and show managements will remember. Once a Miniature Dachshund has been weighed at a show it does not have to be weighed again later the same day. For instance, if a dog is judged in a breed class the judge in future classes (Variety classes or Group or Best in Show for instance) does not have to repeat the process.