Kennel Club meets GSD clubs
The Kennel Club and four German Shepherd Dog Clubs met recently, following calls from the united Clubs to discuss the future and of the breed, following recent critisism from without and within breed ranks.
Representatives from The German Shepherd Dog League, The British Association of German Shepherd Dogs and The German Shepherd Dog Breed Council to attend a meeting in London. The German Shepherd Dog Club of the U.K. were also invited and represented at this meeting.
The meeting was with the Kennel Club Breed Health And Welfare Strategy, group but it would appear that the GSD organisations were disappointed that the discussions were not wide ranging enough at this stage. The three organisations who attended this meeting were united behind the agreed discussion documents, (see OUR DOGS News Extra on line for complete documents), which had previously been hand delivered to The Kennel Club on November 13.
The Kennel Club had advised the club representatives by telephone late in the afternoon on Wednesday 19th of November that the Kennel Club did not wish to discuss the Health and Welfare of the German Shepherd Dog at this meeting, but wished only to discuss the Breed Standard.
The Kennel Club aims of this meeting were: To consider criticism made both by informed dog people and by the general public in regard to the conformation of German Shepherd Dogs currently being exhibited at British shows and to identify ways in which the current public perception of structural problems in the Breed as seen in the show ring can be improved.
The clubs felt that these issues, although important, were not connected to the Health and Welfare of the German Shepherd Dog, but caused by the exaggeration in breeding and/or judging. After lengthy discussions, The Kennel Club promised to discuss the German Shepherd Dog Health and Welfare Planned Improvement Proposal with the three organisations at the earliest opportunity.
It would appear that The Kennel Club's main concern was the 'Topline and Hindquarters' of the German Shepherd: "These two issues together produce the picture of the breed as perceived by outsiders. Taken together, the apparent roach back, low hind quarters, excessive turn of stifle, sickle hocks and hind pasterns sometimes flat on the ground when moving, sometimes associated with pacing, is the picture to which many critics of the present state of the breed point. Individual dogs appear able, when at rest, to stand with their hocks touching - demonstrating their extreme cow hocks".
The meeting spent a considerable time discussing the above, during which it was explained to The Kennel Club by the clubs that the majority of GSD breeders and exhibitors also recognise the above issues as faults, and re-iterated that they are not part of the Breed Standard. However the problem is mainly felt to lie with poor judging of the breed, which has allowed exhibits with exaggerations and unsound movement to achieve high awards without being penalised.
Many other items were discussed including: Overangulation, German Shepherd judges having to attend compulsory seminars every three years, outside attraction, the importance of Breed Surveys - which should be mandatory and over training.
The Kennel Club advised that it would revise the German Shepherd Breed Standard to give more clarity and guidance for judges, and that this would be forwarded to the four organisations for their comments before being implemented.
OUR DOGS contacted the Kennel Club for further comment, and we anticipate further news next week.
For more on this story see our News Extra pages