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Breed clubs praised for positive work


The Kennel Club last week published the final versions of the revised breed standards, which came into force on 1 October, to help to ensure that all breeds are healthy, of good temperament and fit for their original function.

All Breed Standards were initially reviewed by the Kennel Club in January 2009 and interim changes were made to 78 of the standards. A six month period of consultation with Breed Clubs, Breed Councils and major veterinary organisations ensued, after which further review was undertaken.

A total of 29 of the interim standards were amended as a result of the points raised during the consultation period and the final Breed Standards are now available to view online or to download from the Kennel Club website. The October 2009 edition of the Kennel Gazette also lists the further amendments made. Those standards which were amended in January 2009, and to which no further changes are proposed, are not listed in the Gazette.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Communications Director, said: “There is absolutely no question that a dog should be able to see, breathe and walk freely and that, furthermore, it should be fit enough to have the ability to perform its original function. The final Breed Standards make it clear to all that the exaggeration of features for aesthetic reasons, when this is to the detriment of a dog’s health, is unacceptable.

“We are very pleased with the positive way in which the breed clubs have worked with us during this process, particularly as many of the clubs have come forward with their own changes that make the breeders’ responsibility for ensuring that their dogs are fit for function all the more plain.”

The publication of the finalised Breed Standards coincides with an announcement by the Kennel Club that it will launch a new ‘Breed Watch’ area on its website, which will serve as a constant reminder to judges, to any undesirable trends or exaggerations that may be emerging in breeds. The Kennel Club is currently consulting breeders, via the Breed Health Coordinators, regarding breed-specific points of concern for special attention by judges.

Meeting

One breed fraternity which has up to now resisted any attempts to approve or agree on changes to its standard is the Bulldog community, though despite this, and following a meeting last week of all the member clubs of the Bulldog Breed Council, the following statement was issued by council secretary, Gwen E. Biddle-Edwards: ‘The Breed Council is disappointed with the result of the negotiations with the Kennel Club regarding the standard. We are particularly disappointed by the statement emanating from the Kennel Club that the health of the breed has deteriorated, when in fact the opposite is clearly the case as evidenced by the success of the breed in Group and Best in Show competition and the huge rise in popularity of the national breed.
‘Contrary to the rumours, the Breed Council will continue to work with the Kennel Club to promote the health of the Bulldog.’

Misguided

More news to hit the headlines regarding changes to breed standards emanated from a report in our contemporary which wrongly attributed a quote to KC Chairman, Ronnie Irving. the ‘quote’ concerned an alleged remark concerning GSDs, and brought a swift - but misguided - retort from many in the breed. In an open letter to the paper, which was posted on the KC website, Caroline Kisko said that both she and the KC objected strongly to the story which had, she said, ‘simply exacerbated the problems caused to the relationship between the Kennel Club and the GSD breed’.

Indeed, at the time of the ‘quote’ being given, the Chairman was, in fact, out of the country. Ms Kisko also pointed out once more that the KC’s wish was to work with breeds and ‘move forward’.
In another statement sent to the canine press, the GSD partnership, which came into being last year, stated its disbelief at the quote, which had initially been attributed to Mr Irving in an article by Jemima Harrison, and which appeared in Dogs Today.

However, there is a forum planned with the Breed Council, GSD League and BAGSD through the GSD Partnership, which will be for all Breed Clubs to represent their views on the current situation, which is a ‘meeting to discuss the way in which we should all democratically respond to the current conflict situation with the KC in late October/November 2009.’

Dog World, in a reply to the KC letter, apparently confirmed that it will ‘use this as a basis for a follow-up this week.’

The KC's open letter of October 2 says that Mr Irving does now deny the remark. It also says it has no plans to 'throw GSDs out' of KC-licensed events and that it wants to come to an agreement on how to move things forward with the breed.


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