(Update 6/4/16) - video removed at request of copyright owner but you can view it here)
It's grainy, but clear enough to see movement... a video of Cruaghaire Catoria (being handled by the woman in pink) winning Open Bitch at the Bolton GSD Show on Sunday.
She went on to be awarded Best Bitch - her third CC (Championship Certificate) - which means that "Tori" is now, officially, a Kennel Club Champion.
It is absolute proof, should it be needed, that the GSD community in the UK is sticking two fingers up at - well, everyone.
Can the Kennel Club do anything about it? Does the Kennel Club want to do anything about it?
The only statement I've managed to get from them is this:
"The Kennel Club General Committee will be considering the wider issue of German Shepherd Dogs rather than an individual dog and its decisions will be announced in due course."
There is, currently, some confusion about whether or not the KC needs to ratify Tori's Kennel Club Champion status (as I reported a couple of days ago, she is already a British Regional Champion under WUSV rules) - with some observers saying it's not official yet.
If that's the case, the video above might just give the Kennel Club some ammunition to refuse to ratify the win.
The first reason is the double-handling evident at the event.... the shouting//toots/noises used by those outside the ring to get their dogs' attention. It's something you only ever see (or hear) at the GSD ringside and it is supposed to make the dogs look alert for the judge (presumably because the dogs would otherwise slump into pained boredom?). It is expressly forbidden under KC rules. Indeed, ringside, there was a notice to this effect (see here)
"The attracting of the attention of exhibits by any method from outside the ring is prohibited and the duty of the judge, steward or show management noticing such attraction to ask that it cease."
Although I understand that Judge Andrew Winfrow did ask people to stop it he was ignored - and he continued to judge with it still going on.
You could argue, perhaps, that it's a minor point - just more evidence of how absurd the whole GSD showing thing has become. But, actually, it's a contributory factor to weak temperaments. You often see the dogs looking anxiously for their owners; something that shouldn't happen in a breed that is supposed to have rock-steady nerves.
And there was another rule broken at the show too - evidenced in the judge's critique at the end of the class. (His conclusion - that Tori has a "very good backline...this is a very, very correct female".) An oral commentary by a judge at the end of a class is forbidden under KC rules.
It is unlikely, of course, that the KC would be brave enough to nullify the results for these two reasons. But, boy, it would stop the double-handling overnight.
Andrew Winfrow is a German Shepherd breeder himself. He has edited a book about the German Shepherd, the blurb for which describes him thus:
Andrew’s Sadira kennel of German Shepherds has enjoyed considerable success since the 1970s, winning the top female GSD title five times, as well as making up five UK Champions. Andrew is an international Championship show judge, and has officiated at Crufts as well as travelling worldwide on judging appointments. He is an assessor for the Kennel Club on conformation and movement, and is the UK delegate at the main WUSV meeting in Germany.
He sits on the GSD Breed Council (part of the Educational Working Party) and is a Member of the Kennel Club. He judged German Shepherds at Crufts in 2002. Here he is meeting HRH Prince Michael of Kent at Crufts that year.
|Photo: Alan V Walker|
The debacle rumbles on.