Two weeks after the Crufts furore, Cruaghaire Catoria has won Best of Breed again, this time at the Scottish Progressive GSD Group's Show last Sunday (27th March) at Glebe Park, Lesmahagow. "Tori' was awarded V1 - the top title in shows run under WUSV rules.
The judge was SV judge Herr Peter Arth, and the win gives Tori enough points to be called a BRG (British Regional Group) Champion. Owner Susan Cuthbert (who is also the SPGSD Group's Secretary) had duly amended her website to reflect this achievement.
Although there is mention of the win on the Cruaghaire website, the results do not seem to have been made publicly available yet, and no pictures have been released, perhaps in anticipation of the reaction.
So what should we make of the win?
Well, one would hope that "Tori" performed with more confident aplomb than she did at Crufts. But even if she wasn't hunched-and-crunched in anxiety as she was at Crufts, this is still the same dog we saw there - a dog whose rear knuckles scraped the ground and who landed on her metatarsals when she moves. Have another look (I've slowed it down some more here). This is the best of her movement that day.
So is this just showline Shepherd breeders sticking two fingers up at the rest of us?
Well yes. Although it's important to know that these are not comedy villains cackling behind their hands while knowingly breeding crippled dogs. They honestly, truly, deeply believe what they're doing is right; that dogs that look and move like this are "correct". Read this again from the statement released by the GSD League of Great Britain following Crufts.
"The GSD League condemns most strongly the manner in which the Kennel Club and the Crufts presenters have created public hysteria regarding the German Shepherd Bitch who gained Best of Breed at Crufts 2016 under breed specialist judge, Davy Hall.
"With complete disregard for all of the many breed specialist judges, including highly regarded judges from the breed’s country of origin, that have awarded this bitch top honours at both Kennel Club and WUSV shows, the Channel 4 coverage acted as judge, jury and hangman without any balance of reporting.
"Cruaghaire Catoria is a correct type to the German Shepherd Dog standard, she has a KC/BVA hip score of 13 and elbow score of 0 – these scores are well below the maximum for showing at WUSV shows, the Kennel Club have no minimum standard for showing or breeding purposes. She is a fit, healthy, family dog.
"The judge, Davy Hall, of the Gayville’s GSDs kennels has been an exhibitor and breeder of GSDs for many years having bred, owned, trained and handled many top winning animals and Champions including the current breed CC record holder."
They believe this so strongly that they will see Tori's new win last Sunday as confirmation that they were right all along and the rest of us know jack-shit about German Shepherds. Judge PeterArth, who gave Tori her V1 win is a German SV judge (i.e. supposedly the best) and it is hard to imagine that he is not aware of the fuss over this dog or hat he has not seen the footage of her - although of course he would not have had the benefit of slo-mo last Sunday.
A comment on one GSD forum from someone who knows him says:
Peter Arth is an excellent SV Judge, Körmeister and Trial judge as well. He prefers dogs who meet the standard and he will accept no politicing from people wanting their dogs to be placed high if the dog does not deserve it.So there it is, just in case anyone had any lingering doubts.
This is what they are looking for in the show-ring. This is what they want to see.
And, frankly, it won't change until the SV in Germany sees the light.
Meanwhile, we are awaiting an announcement from the Kennel Club re how it intends to address "the GSD problem".
I hear quite radical moves are being considered...
PS: this post is not an April Fool - unlike this post yesterday. And, no I didn't publish all those comments from those frantic to tell everyone that is was an April Fool - because, hey, isn't it much more fun to let people be taken in? (What spoilsports you all were!)