Thursday, 19 May 2011

A people's revolt?


Oh to be a fly on the wall at today's Kennel Club AGM... Following on from my blogpost earlier this week which highlighted the grumbling in the ranks regarding the KC's attempt to stop exhibitors enhancing their dogs' coats with hair spray, chalk, silicon, dyes and so on,  Dog World runs with an extraordinarily-bold headline on its front cover that should get them summarily barred from not just this year's Annual General Meeting, but every one for the next 10 years.

The calls for a more democratic KC (as exists in Sweden where everyone who registers a dog gets a vote, not just the select few who have been invited to the hallowed ranks of KC membership) are undoubtedly getting louder.

But, goodness, wouldn't it be nice if the reason for the revolt was a demand for better health, rather than the a right to slap any old 'product' on their pooches?

So now the KC finds itself in a tricky place. With the outside world watching, and the KC keen to prove that the show-ring has integrity, it would be impossible to give in to the protestors and allow them carte-blance to L'orealise their dogs. I strongly suspect they are opposed to it in principle anyway.  KC Secretary Caroline Kisko has Siberian Huskies (and proper ones, at that, without the mad excess coat seen in some overseas show-rings); Chairman Ronnie Irving and Steve Dean both have Border Terriers and Anne Macdonald has salukis - all of which need minimum prep for the show-ring. 

How to resolve? Well how about dipping a toe into democracy and having a referendum? To get the ball rolling, here's a poll...

What should exhibitors be allowed to do to prepare their dog for the show-ring?

20 comments:

  1. Mr. Irving's opinions are a little less relevant to the outcome now. He has resigned as Chairman.

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  2. Proper huskies? You mean starving jackals! Rumor has it that it's more than "product" keeping that breed at peak performance. Endurance enhancing Steroids anyone?

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  3. Seriously - you're accusing Caroline Kisko of running her dogs on steroids? Now I'm never one to dismiss a scurrilous rumour about the Kennel Club but, really, that's beyond ridiculous.

    Jemima

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  4. No actually you inaccurately drew that conclusion. But the use of such has been whispered about, but not in connection with this lady.

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  5. In my humble opinion dogs should be shown with a clean coat, trimmed nails, cleaned ears and just enough trimming/stripping to allow them to be tidy and fit for their original funtion. I am wary of clips which can alter how the dog looks (making the neck look longer for instance) as much as neatening the edges of white markings or using eyeliner. Oddly these practices are common in show ponies....show ponies exposed anyone!? Perhaps the KC should not be too harsh on first offenders though; especially if they have fallen foul by using a shampoo they thought was ok.
    Now....onto the important stuff....healthy conformation and health testing?

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  6. What's your opinion on the ZEROS Husky debate????

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  7. I have no problem with the trimming of a working breed (I use working loosely here, not nessecarly the show catagory) so as to make the coat more functional, some of the coats have gotten out of hand and would be a mess if the dog actually did their traditional job, but otherwise I think trimming should be nothing more than a quick cleanup of loose ends. Course I have a Tibetan Mastiff, a breed thats not supposed to be trimmed at all!

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  8. Anon asked: "What's your opinion on the ZEROS Husky debate????"

    This is the claim that the British Siberian Husky Racing Association (of which Caroline Kisko is a leading light) banned dogs fom the Zero line on the basis that they were not purebred Siberians (the rumour, I believe, being that they were more Alaskan Husky).

    The BSHRA claimed that the ban was nothing to do with the fact that the Zero line dogs were regularly beating the Lokiboden lines of the BSHRA heirarchy - while those who believed otherwise went round wearing T-shirts reading "If you can't beat 'em, Ban 'em!"

    I don't know enough about the history of this to have a view but have to say that I can see the argument that if you set up rabbit-racing organisation that it would be reasonable to ban hares from competing. I guess it all depends on the truth about the Zero line dogs.

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  9. You might want to look further into this story.....might be surprised at wot unfolds!!!!

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  10. Are Zero dogs accepted for KC registration? Would be ironic if they were 'purebred' enough for that, but not to race?

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  11. Well, my email addy is top right... and if the truth has any bearing on health/welfare (and that might include misplaced notions of purity that impinge on health), you know how to get in touch.

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  12. Here's a bit of background info on the Zero huskies - from a hero of mine, Jeffrey Bragg:

    http://siberian-husky-bloodlines.seppalasleddogs.com/zero.htm

    The Zero line dogs were certainly accepted for AKC registration.

    Why is Jeffrey Bragg a hero? Have a mosey around his main site:

    http://www.seppalakennels.com/

    And particularly his writings:

    http://www.seppalakennels.com/jeffreys-articles.htm

    His hugely influential "Purebred Dog Breeds into the Twenty-First Century" - written in 1996 - was the kicking-off point for my own interest in this issue.

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  13. not everyting that goes on in the world of uk huskies is as pure as snow, its now up to you to find out why

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  14. Please be fair on this issue about coat testing, no one is asking that every substance possible should be slapped on show dogs coats. Just that testing should not preclude people bathing their dogs properly in shampoo and using grooming solutions when grooming out, which is kinder as it is easier for the dog to be groomed than with a dry coat on the longer breeds.

    What is annoying people is that testing and disqualification for anything but water used in preparing a dog is clearly daft as to live a normal live a long coated show dog needs regular bathing in a quality pet shampoo. THe KC seem to be saying - no leave it filthy.

    Agree that dye and laquer is out of order but there is hypocracy as the chair of the KC has given top awards to dogs clearly laquered for presentation.

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  15. As this article is talking about show dogs perhaps a little thought shou;ld be given to their preparation rather than working dogs or huskies which have been discussed? A show dogs function is to "show off" the excellence of it's construction, movement and even temperament, to do this exhibitors strive to make the dogs look not just clean but wonderful. Anyone can wash a dog and leave it to dry, a show dog's presentation requires care and conditioning (bye which I mean quality feeding and appropriate excercise as well as regular grooming). Different breeds obviously have different coats, some topical products make them a little easier to cope with and give a little extra appeal. The KC rule is unspecific and clearly the powers that be only considered some products were to be targeted, therefore only some breeds, contrary to the wording of the rule. This is why the motion gained so much support - the unfairness of the KC's handling of the situation.

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  16. Seriously - you're accusing Caroline Kisko of running her dogs on steroids? Now I'm never one to dismiss a scurrilous rumour about the Kennel Club but, really, that's beyond ridiculous.

    Jemima

    Not ridiculous at all just think of the many dogs drugged up to the eyeballs with metacam, rimadyl to enhance poor movement due to pain or the many that are shown on sedatives due to their poor temperments!!

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  17. Not a breed known for poor temperament. Poor movement couldn't be enhanced with painkiller. Pain killer would only mask pain in mild lameness. The idea of a sedated dog in the show ring is indeed ridiculous. And i wonder where that kind of gossip stems from. Certainly not from any experience on your part.

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  18. Anon 21st May said;
    "A show dogs function is to "show off" the excellence of it's construction, movement and even temperament".

    In essence a dog beauty contest then. Many breeds are "constructed" by humans shaping and grooming them to suit what those in the breed find aesthetically pleasing. The dogs probably don't give a damn (have no choice) what they end up looking like, but sadly to go natural would be impractical (matting) and to those in the breed aesthetically appalling.

    I notice the word "health" is missing in your post. To me a show winning dog is one that proves it is fit for life and fit for function. Show dogs providing proof of health tests would be a start. Wonder if that was suggested at the KC's meeting?

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  19. Would you wash your childs hair ( some are blessed with lots of hair aren't they.) without the aid of shampoo and conditioner especially if they have lots of hair and to comb/brush it out would cause pain to the child. Of course you wouldn't. So why should we be asked to do this to an animal. I do not believe in dying hair this is outright cheating, but to aid grooming keeping the dog clean and tangle free using shampoo and conditioner is common sense. As for fit for function well many breeds cannot even do the function for which they either naturally evolved or were bred for, because it is against the law. Why don't people and the KC use common sense. A well constructed fit and healthy dog is what we should be looking for, whether it has a short coat or a long coat is immaterial except for the one big factor that a coat should be in good condition and knot free for the dogs comfort. The dogs come first and it is an outdated idea to think that caring for a coat as you would your own hair from wash to wash is cheating. Dying a coat is.

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  20. What is meant by excess coat in Siberian Huskies here? The type of coat a show line dog has? Well I have and have had both show line dogs and working line dogs and there is no longer or more hair on the show line dogs. Some working line dogs doesn't have a very polar coat (extreme dogs, not the typical ones) and both show line dogs and working line dogs can be born with a longer, undesired coat structure.
    If anybody think that all show line dogs have coats that matt, tangel or clumps in the snow. Well, mine sure don't. Nor do they get cold lying outside in -25-30C (and probably colder, it hasn't been colder in southern Norway for many years). I work my show line dogs too, and they do well even if they're not as fast as the best working line dogs.

    And yes, showing dogs is about the beauty of a functional dog in cat condition, muscle tone, movements, angulations and so on. So please give your show dogs a bath using a proper shampoo for dogs.

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