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So you want to compete with your dog in the UK?

Many Europeans are thinking of competing with their dogs in the UK, where the challenge of matching their top dogs against the very large entries at most shows (compared with those found in the rest of Europe), and especially at the prestigious Crufts dog show, draws people like a magnet. However many who would love to compete in the UK do not know how to go about it.

An overseas competitor's guide to attending Kennel Club licensed events in the UK.

Firstly, you will need to apply for an ATC number from the Kennel Club. Forms can be obtained direct from the Kennel Club By mail to: The Kennel Club, 1 - 5 Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London, W1J 8AB, U.K.

If you have access to the Internet, forms can be downloaded from the Kennel Club website: You may not enter any competitions in the UK until you have received your ATC number, and this number must be quoted on all entry forms. Failure to do so may result in your entry form being returned. When you apply, you must send a three generation pedigree for the dog.This must be provided by your own National Kennel Club where the dog is registered, (photocopies are acceptable) Your Kennel Club has to be a member of the F.C.I. The pedigree you send must show the name of the owner of the dog (the same as the person applying for the ATC). If the correct ownership is not shown on the pedigree, the Kennel Club would need to receive a copy of the registration/transfer document to show that the dog is owned by the person applying for the ATC. On acceptance, the owner of a dog will receive an ATC number which must be quoted on all entry forms, and on all correspondence

If your dog was bred in the UK, and registered there before being exported to your country, you do not need an ATC number. Instead put the dog's original Kennel Club registration number in place of the ATC number on all entry forms.

You can find details of UK shows, either by subscribing to OUR DOGS, or by subscribing to the “Kennel Gazette” which is published by the Kennel Club and, contains lists of all dog shows held in the UK,with the name and address of the show secretary, and the place where the show will be held. Once you know the shows where you want to compete, write to the show secretary, and ask them to send you a schedule for the show. Do this in plenty of time because all UK shows have only one entries closing date. This is usually about a month or more before the date of the show.

In the schedule you will find all the Kennel Club Guidelines, Rules and Regulations that apply to the show. More detailed information can be found in the Kennel Club's Year Book, which is available from their Publications Department. It is important that Competitors make themselves aware of the Kennel Club rules, especially those about grooming. Also note that double handling is not permitted. Any mess that your dog makes must be picked up and placed into the bins provided. There are also rules about the dog’s welfare, particularly note that it is forbidden to leave dog’s in cars on hot days.

The schedule also contains an entry form, and details of the judges and classes in which you may enter your dog. Please note that there are usually far more classes scheduled at UK shows than you would find at FCI shows. Study the entry requirements for each class carefully. It is the exhibitor's responsibility to ensure that their dog is eligible for the class/es that they have entered, especially when calculating wins which count towards the title of Champion (a CAC award would be like a CC in the UK). Owners of dogs which have gained the title of a National Champion or an FCI International Champion should inform the Kennel Club, supplying a copy of the appropriate documentation from the issuing kennel club if they wish to use the title..

Champions are only allowed to compete in Open Breed Classes, or in age restricted classes and Any Variety Champion classes.

Permission must be obtained from the General Committee of the Kennel Club if the exhibit has undergone an operation to alter its natural conformation. Dogs which have been spayed or castrated are permitted to be exhibited at Kennel Club licensed events, but. the owner of the dog must inform the Kennel Club prior to exhibition, giving the date of the operation, the name of the veterinary surgeon, and the place where the operation was carried out. Dogs with cropped ears cannot compete at any Kennel Club licensed event. Overseas exhibitors are reminded that the Kennel Club has the jurisdiction to investigate, and if necessary to penalise, any breaches of Kennel Club regulations or complaints made under Rule A42.

Permission to enter the UK with your dog

Before you may enter the UK with your dog, you will need to comply with strict regulations laid down by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

(DEFRA). An outline of these regulations is given below, although it would be a good idea to check the DEFRA website for further information:

You can get more information about PETS and quarantine by contacting Defra. The address to write to is : Pet Travel Scheme Helpline, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Area 201, 1a Page Street, London. SW1P 4PQ. Or Telephone: +44 (0)870 241 1710 (Monday to Friday - 8.30am to 5pm UK time); Fax: +44 (0)20 7904 620;

email: (please enclose your postal address and a day time telephone number). Their website has full details, and the address is: Basically the following steps are required.

1. Your dog must be microchipped with an ISO approved microchip.
2. After the dog has been microchipped, it must be vaccinated with an inactivated rabies vaccine.
3. Details of both the vaccine and microchip should be recorded on your dog's veterinary record.
4. Approximately 30 days after the vaccination, your vet should take a blood sample which must be sent to one of the DEFRA approved laboratories to check that the vaccine has taken effect. This check can be done later, although 30 days is the best time to get an accurate result.
5. The result of the blood test will be returned to your vet, and in order to pass, the titre (antibody) level must be 0.5 or more. If the titre level is less than required, then the vaccination and test must be repeated.
6. Your vet will then issue a Pet Passport (for Europe) or a certificate confirming that all the above requirements have been completed
7. You have to wait six (6) calendar months after a successful blood test, after which you will be free to travel to the UK from the approved countries listed on the DEFRA website.
8. Dogs must be treated for ticks and parasites by a qualified vet who will record this information on a certificate (or in the Pet Passport for European dogs) not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before entry into the UK.

Entering the UK

Be Careful. You and your dog may only enter the UK through specified points. Not all airlines and ports are currently part of the scheme. it is advisable to contact DEFRA for full details about which routes and airlines will allow your dog to enter the UK.

All the necessary checks should be made before a dog enters the UK, except for those dogs flying into the UK, whose document will be checked on arrival at the airport.

A full list of the Pet Travel Scheme approved countries can be obtained from the DEFRA

Jacqui Hurley