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GSDs to lose CCs in 2012?


THE GERMAN Shepherd Dog community has been left in turmoil this week following days of speculation over whether or not the Kennel Club would go ahead with plans to withdraw CCs from the breed in 2012.

After several years of well documented unrest within the breed, the KC confirmed on Tuesday that it had ‘recently completed the overall allocation of Championship Status for 2012 (published in the August issue of the Kennel Gazette) but has declined for the time being to allocate Kennel Club Challenge Certificates for that year to German Shepherd Dogs (Alsatians) until it has resolved various matters with the GSD fraternity.’

The move comes after months of the Kennel Club being in contact with representatives from the German Shepherd Dog Clubs and Council to discuss concerns raised by judges over the conformation of the breed as frequently seen in the show ring.

During the course of these discussions it was stressed that the Kennel Club was aware of sensitivities within the breed, but that it was also acutely conscious that there was a clear need for the KC and breed clubs to work together to resolve health issues of all kinds, as well as putting an end to the practice of double handling.

In Tuesday’s statement, the KC said: ‘The KC Breed Health and Welfare Strategy Group is particularly keen to ensure both the proper application of the Kennel Club Breed Standard – and the avoidance of exaggeration – by judges and breeders alike. The Kennel Club notes the level of valid criticism from all quarters; not only within the world of dogs, but also from the veterinary profession and from the general public. The KC is aware of similar concerns in other parts of Europe.’

Reputation

GSD breed representatives were asked in various discussions with the KC to help enhance the reputation of this well recognised breed. There was agreement that there were problems with the hindquarters of some dogs, and that dogs with hocks touching or almost touching were most unsatisfactory. It was felt by some that the tendency for this stemmed from the length of the second thigh. Concern had also been expressed over the potential adverse effect on health both of exaggerated toplines which seem in some cases to be almost roached, and of toplines which fall away in an exaggerated manner.

Breed representatives agreed that during their training, judges must be made aware of the need for overall soundness and, in particular, strength in the hindquarters.

In addition to this, the Kennel Club and many German Shepherd Dog exhibitors had voiced serious concerns relating to double handling of the breed, which they said appeared to continueing unabated.

The statement continued: ‘The Kennel Club continues to monitor breed club shows for compliance with the Regulation which prevents the attraction of the attention of dogs from outside the ring. All clubs were written to at the beginning of 2008 confirming that shows would be monitored and were provided with an advice note on how to manage double handling. It was pointed out at this time that if at a club’s show there was continued double handling which had gone unchecked then future show licences co\uld be placed in jeopardy. Similarly any judge or exhibitor failing to comply with the Regulations will be investigated with possible resulting disciplinary action. Double handling, as well as being against Kennel Club Regulations, has serious implications for the safety of those at the ringside and also for the welfare of the dogs. The KC is determined that this practice must cease in order to preserve the reputation of dog showing and dog welfare.’

The Kennel Club has emphasised that discussions must continue on these matters in a satisfactory manner to ensure that acceptable plans are in place and that actions have commenced to resolve matters – including double handling – before the 2012 allocation of CCs to GSDs is confirmed.

Letter

In a letter to all show secretaries and the German Shepherd Dog Breed Council, dated July 23rd, Kathryn Symns, the KC’s Executive of Canine Activities, pointed out that the KC would not for the moment be allocating CCs the breed at any Championship show during 2012.

The letter stated the same concerns regarding exaggeration, health and the ongoing problem of double handling in the breed.

David Payne (Videx) insists that ‘the ‘politics’ of suspending the allocation of our breed’s CCs in 2012 is purely for ‘leverage’ purposes’ and thinks that the The Kennel Club are running a very high risk strategy in doing this.

He said: ‘The breed must present a united front, and take a positive decision to suspend all dialogue with the Kennel Club until they withdraw their letter. In the meantime the breed needs to vigorously explore all alternatives to remaining under the KC system. We need to stay calm and focused, and we must take full advantage of the opportunities presented to us by the Kennel Clubs ‘threat’.

David feels the only way now is to establish an independent ‘programme’ of GSD events for 2012, and feels it may be necessary to find an alternative ‘registration’ system.’

‘We can also implement Championship Certificates at our GSD events, and agree on how many would make up a Champion, he continued. ‘If the Kennel Club wish to retain the GSD breed within its organisation, they also need to allow double handling at all of our GSD Breed Shows, and restrict it at all breed Shows. The Kennel Club will also need to drop the name Alsatian, and co-operate with our GSD breed by implementing a Two Tier registration system based on the "accredited GSD scheme", with our 're-vitalised' Breed Council playing a pivotal role’.

Strong views

This breaking away from the Kennel Club has been aired before, and some may feel that now is the ideal time to do it. Dorothy Cullum of the Cermar German Shepherds is not surprised by this week’s news. ‘I think we probably had this coming to us,’ she told OUR DOGS. ‘A few years ago there was another registration system set up and unfortunately people were not aware of what it had meant to their new purchase.I have very strong views about the system and feel that most of our stock goes to pet people they want to see the KC are involved and not some other organisation.

‘Some are totally against what the KC have tried to do, especially the Accredited Schemes, they want a modern train of thought and action but want to be seen dictating pace themselves.
I feel things have improved and if this means fewer CC's are awarded so be it.

‘There has also been a big upset about type, German and in some cases over size, English long and low and the rather greater type of middle of the road which is more to the standard described.

‘So we go for a different system, and those who wish to have and have been used to being active in the world of dogs find they no longer can, because people that break away have made themselves into a select group which cannot play with the rest of the doggy world! How sensible is that? Puppy sales will go too!’


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