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Chairman of Bulldog Breed council resigns


Robin SearleTHE CHAIRMAN of the Bulldog Breed Council, Robin Searle, has resigned after speaking of his disappointment with both the Council and the Kennel club.

After fifteen years as Chairman, which represents eighteen Bulldog clubs, Mr Searle has spoken of his admiration of the Council, which he feels that under his leadership, ‘not just over the last twelve months but over several years, the breed council has made every effort to accommodate the demands of the breed and the Kennel Club and the concerns of the wider public.’

A great deal has been done and in his view 'the Bulldog is the healthiest it has ever been in the last 50 years or more' and, as specialist in several breeds with a wide range of conformations, his view of the Bulldog has to be taken very seriously.

Speaking exclusively to Our Dogs Mr Searle said: ‘It is with great sadness that after 15 years as Chairman of the Bulldog Breed Council I have resigned, I am both disappointed and disheartened, both with the Kennel Club and The Breed Council.’

In March this year Council delegates, including a veterinary surgeon, met with the Kennel Club Breed Standards Committee to discuss the changes proposed to the interim standard. The delegates were of the opinion this was a good meeting, with the committee understanding and appreciating the breed points put forward. Mr Searle continued: ‘This was clearly not the case as in September we heard that all our recommendations had been rejected and that a further change was to be added - making 60 changes in all.’

The Council had planned a Judges’ Day for the end of October to explain the implications of the new standard, to which the KC were invited to send a representative. The KC replied that ‘there was nobody available at that time but they would be happy to meet with the BC on a date of the KC’s choosing.’

Suggestions

‘Since being in the Chair of the Council I have overseen the establishment of several sub-committees designed to improve the health and welfare of the breed. A Video was produced to explain to judges what they are looking for as regards the health issues associated with breed type and another for seminar organisers showing procedures and suggesting formats for mentoring and tutorials.

‘The Council also implemented a Health Screening Scheme within which over fifty Veterinary Surgeons across the country agreed to perform a series of health checks on Bulldogs prior to them being bred from. This initiative was developed alongside a legal Puppy Contract which was created with the objective of protecting and safeguarding both buyer and breeder.

‘The Kennel Club were made fully aware of all these efforts through the period from 2003 when the first modifications to the Standard by the Breed Council. These were all solely to do with health issues and were passed by the KC. Dr. Ruth Barbour has publicly made positive references to all these improvements that the Council has implemented.

‘Now, after making the running, the Breed Council has simply accepted the KCs changes in the Standard saying although they do not agree with them or the KCs demands they will simply “have to go along with it”.

Shock

‘Make no mistake about it, the Bulldog is the healthiest it has ever been in the last 50 years or more and it is the Breed Council and the constituent Club's which have made this possible – not the Kennel Club. Where is the back-bone, determination, tenacity and grit that the this breed should show in defending its own?

‘I don't know of any other National breed in any Country worldwide being attacked by their own Kennel Club in this way - why us?

‘I believe the Kennel Club should be there to protect and promote pedigree dogs - and the National breed should not be exempt from this protection. One can only do so much for your Breed during your lifetime – I feel I have done as much as I can.’

His decision has come as a shock to all those who know him, for his dedication to dogs in general and in Bulldogs in particular is undisputed. Robin was born into a family dedicated to dogs, his grandparents showed Gundogs and his parents owned and bred Borzoi and Terriers, as well as German Shepherds. Robin himself has owned a number of breeds including Borzoi, Shetland Sheepdogs, Bulldogs, Smooth Fox Terriers, Beagles and Papillons, and more recently Great Danes and Australian Cattle Dogs. He and wife Sue, made up 29 U.K. Champions and many, many more overseas. As well as showing and breeding, he is past Chairman of the Greater London OES Club, the Borzoi Club, a branch of the Shetland Sheepdog Club and the English Toy Terrier Club. He been judging since 1959 and is passed for forty breeds and BIS, the Hound, Working, Pastoral Groups (he has already judged two of those groups at Crufts and will be judging the Pastoral Group in 2010. He has officiated extensively abroad

Bulldog breeder and exhibitor, Glynn Payne, told Our Dogs, 'I greatly regret Robin's resignation. He was highly respected among the Bulldog fraternity and he has done a great deal to promote the health of the breed. Bulldogs have improved out of all recognition in the UK over the last few years and they are getting better world wide as UK judges are demanding a healthy dog when the judge abroad.

‘But I do understand Robin's frustration. The Kennel Club appears to be saying that the Bulldog clubs have accepted the changes the KC has made but the truth is that the clubs and the Breed Council have made it quite clear that they are very unhappy both with the changes and the Kennel Club's heavy handed treatment of them. However, they feel trapped and that they have no choice.'

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