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GSD exhibitors accuse KC of vendetta

Above Clokelly’s Lagos and below, Lagos’ wins

THE OWNER of the German Shepherd Dog best of breed at Crufts has hit out at the Kennel Club and Crufts TV host, Claire Balding, who made comments concerning the soundness of the dog as he left the group ring.

Carol Keen, who is the owner breeder of the three-year-old dog, Clokelly Lagos, has this week spoken to Our Dogs telling of her dismay at being singled out in the group ring in the More4 programme. In the slot, Claire Balding spoke to the KC’s representative Caroline Kisko and asked what could be done to improve the shape and movement in the breed, causing many to question whether Ms Balding was in a position to comment on the soundness or otherwise of the breed on national TV.

The Kennel Club issued the following statement:

'As part of More4’s commitment to having an open debate about the health and welfare of dogs during the 2010 coverage of Crufts, it was inevitable that there would be some discussion about the issues that exist in certain breeds. Clare Balding chose to highlight a health issue which was also subsequently noted by the BVA. The Kennel Club has since received a number of emails and phone calls from viewers concerned at the appearance of the dog.

The Kennel Club would not and could not interfere with More4 reporting on these issues in the way that it sees fit.

Although the Kennel Club cannot comment on this case in particular it should be noted that within all of the high profile breeds, both judges and monitors were required to submit a report about the dogs that they saw before them at DFS Crufts. These reports will, as always, go to the Kennel Club’s Dog Health Group and if there is a discrepancy between them the Kennel Club will ask the relevant judge to provide an explanation, which will be assessed accordingly.

The Kennel Club is taking firm action to address the problems which it perceives in the GSD breed generally and has asked all GSD clubs to sign an undertaking to confirm that they recognise that there is a problem with the conformation of the breed at present and only those which sign will be allocated CCs from 2011 onwards.'

Carol told us: ‘To breed and own a GSD like Clokelly Lagos has been my life’s ambition. I am dedicated to this lovely GSD breed.‘I have taken Lagos through every health screening test appropriate for our breed, which he has passed with flying colours. I have also taken Lagos through the most stringent assessment tests and examinations for GSD in Germany, our breed motherland. Again he has passed them ALL with flying colours. I have actively supported the Kennel Club and its licensed shows for many years, something I am currently questioning very seriously indeed.

‘I find the latest Kennel Club Statement deeply offensive, and like me, I am sure the majority of our GSD breed enthusiasts will be deeply insulted by it. ‘The Kennel Club have failed to make any reference to the complaints made to them about the television interview itself being unfair, and insulting, and in very bad taste. Particularly against a GSD judged to be best of breed, and a GSD specialist judge. A GSD judge specifically selected by the Kennel Club for his qualifications and qualities, who was singularly abandoned, unsupported by the Kennel Club Secretary in this TV interview.

Results for Clokellys Lagos


‘The Kennel Club Secretary surely had a duty to the exhibitor and the GSD exhibit correctly entered and judged at its own Crufts Show, and the GSD Judge, during that infamous TV interview. She completely failed in this respect, concentrating solely and unjustifiably on scoring points against the GSD breed, disgraceful indeed. Especially considering the exemplary status of my dogs’ show record, health screening record and assessments record. ‘The Kennel Club Statement is clearly a cop-out, and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Our GSD exhibiters within Great Britain clearly lead the way for all pedigree dogs breeds in Health Screening and Fit for Function assessments. The Kennel Club’s choosing to focus on unsoundness is simply to steer attention away from compulsory health screening tests, onto “visible faults”. In other words “Out of sight – Out of mind” – Then the majority of people registering GSD litters can continue ‘unrestricted’, because no one will be looking at their breeding stock for unsoundness, and they can continue not doing any health screening, such as Hips,

Elbows, Haemophilia tests, DNA tests etc. They can continue NOT having their breeding stock assessed in any way whatsoever, especially for suitable characters and temperaments, which to the General Public is the most important assessment for our breed.”

Carol concluded by saying: ‘The Kennel Club should enter meaningful discussions with our GSD breed Clubs, without further delay. The Kennel Club could all too obviously learn a great deal from them.’

Another GSD exhibitor and judge told OUR DOGS:

Why is it that people from other breeds feel they have a right to comment on our breed the GSD, when they have no understanding or feel for it whatsoever? How lucky the GSD breeders are with the SV controlling their affairs, that is why there is such great progress made in that country.

We are sick of people passing comments. If we all went about commenting on other breeds and their make up, e.g. flat faced breeds, breeds that used to be docked, structure of heads, why breeds move the way they do, or why they breath the way they do, why breeds are trimmed and sculptured etc., etc., we would be told by the custodians of those breeds in no uncertain terms to keep our noses out and mind our own businesses! Well to those that do not understand our GSD breed, keep your noses out of our affairs. We do not need the comments and remarks. This breed has pioneered hip dysplasia and, haemophilia testing. It has taken on board screening for elbows problems, it encourages breed surveying of all breeding stock, grading and strict selection of breed stock. Even the specialist judges judge differently from the rest of the breeds. It is harder to pass the GSD B/C examination than most O level exams. This is a breed that has done more for itself and for dogs in general and than any other, and yet the criticism keeps coming.

These comments come a few days after reports that a five-month-old German Shepherd Dog belonging to Pam Edgington was asked to leave the Good Citizen Training Scheme display, following an alleged ‘Abnormality in its hindquarters’ noticed by a senior Crufts’ vet.


Pam, who has been in the breed for 50 years and who is an Accredited Breeder, was left shocked and humiliated by the event. She told us: ‘I was there by invitation from the KC, and my puppy was having a lovely time. However, when the vet came to look at her, they bent down and fussed her, stroked her backend and said she was unsound. They never ever saw her move. He said I would have to leave immediately and 10 minutes later I was gone.Ms Edgington says that she has always had her dogs health-tested, and that as a five-month-old, the puppy was simply ‘loose’ as would be expected at that age. She believes that the KC has a ‘vendetta’ against the breed.

A KC spokesperson said of Ms Edgington’s case: ‘The Kennel Club can confirm that a German Shepherd Dog was excluded from the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme Display Ring. This decision was taken upon the advice of the DFS Crufts vet who felt that the dog showed abnormality in the hindquarters. The Kennel Club is dedicated to ensuring that DFS Crufts is a celebration of healthy dogs and in a display ring, where there is no judge to make an executive decision, it is particularly important that the vet takes the responsibility for ensuring that all dogs are sound representatives of their breed.’

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