Thursday 19 November 2015

BRACHY WEEK (extended): Swedish judging row rumbles on

Swedish judge Ake Cronander is standing firm. Despite being criticised by his own Kennel Club for awarding "Excellent" to a Pug in clear respiratory distress at a show in the summer (see video here), Cronander continues to insist that the Pug was fine and that he has done nothing wrong.

In today's DogWorld he says:

“It was the dog’s first show and she very strongly protested about being put on the table and having a hands-on examination. The most interesting thing is that her tail was up all the time, and that would not have happened in a Pug with breathing problems. When she was given a treat she made no sound as she was eating it, which means she was breathing through her nose with no noise. It’s quite simple; she is a healthy dog who was just upset at that point.
“The breed that the biggest problem in the heat that day was the Irish Wolfhound,” he said. “There were greater sounds of breathing coming from their ring than the Pug’s.”
Dog World also reports that Mr Cronander estimates that temperatures that day were about 28 degrees in the shade and "between 32 and 35 degrees in the sun".

The dog show was in Backamo in Sweden on August 22-23 of this year.

Here are the recorded temperatures in Backamo for those two days.


  1. "The most interesting thing is that her tail was up all the time, and that would not have happened in a Pug with breathing problems."

    All she wanted to do was lay down but he didn't notice that I'm guessing, all with all the other signs of distress breathing. I've seen many a pug with compromised breathing on par with the little black show dog, none of them had tails that dropped down. It is nothing but a lame attempt to save face. Yes, stop talking Mr Cronander.

  2. Twenty eight degrees! Irish wolf hounds gasping, rattling, choking, roaring and snorting where they!

    I imagine what they were doing is simply panting and panting successfully at that.

    Thing is when a pug is stressed its going to have problems breathing simply because the airways are too narrow and contorted. Elongated soft palate, stenotic or even near stenotic nares, hypoplastic trachea and everted laryngeal saccules...... make this unavoidable in most except the extremely fortunate.

    So what's a judge to do. Start demanding more of a muzzle, start awarding a nose typy dog. Of course this is impossible in a field of absolutely flat faces. So judges must start making and noting appropriate remarks, 'face too pushed back", "neck too short and thick" "stenotic nares" etc etc even if they have to say the same thing about the entire line up. Then not awarding first second or third place, until something eventually comes to light that can be.

    Sorted!? Pug appraisals, only those that can actually breathe both stressed and at rest may qualify to be shown as such.

    1. River P, I am an owner of Irish Wolfhounds. Yes, Irish Wolfhounds are "gasping, rattling, choking, roaring and snorting" when temperature is only 20 degrees. When temperature is 28 they are dying. Sadly panting is not effective to successfully cool theirs giant bodys. And it is very very sad that people don't notice how wolfhounds suffer during summer exhibitions. Breeding for giant size is cruel exaggeration but people think it is ok. With giant size is correlated many health issue. Unfortunately you can't see them as clearly as in pugs.

    2. Goodness. I didn't know this. If the case for all IW, this is incredibly sad and worrying.

    3. Another sad whisper in the dark. Why am I no longer surprised.

      I haven't thought about or even seen an Irish Wolfhound in a very long time. I've always truly loved the breed, though. Our school teacher and headmistress, jack of all subjects used to bring two to school with her....

      Could this be related to the inherited disease DCM that they suffer from! Enlarged heart? This definitely affects the lungs amongst other things. I know exaggerated size is a problem and affects many health aspects in giant breeds but I didn't think that size affected their ability to breathe or cool down, at least quite so critically.

      I looked up the status of the breed and it looks like its another one already in real danger from a genetic bottle neck, Popular Sire Syndrome. If DCM is very prevalent and I imagine with a genetic bottle neck it has to be, that will definitely cause them to battle to breathe and drop dead?!

      Giant breeds of dogs do have problems and sadly Irish wolf hounds are short lived. Amongst maybe other things DCM might explain why?

    4. in warm-blooded animals, heat is generated metabolically and the amount of heat generated will go up as body mass goes up. The ability to dissipate that heat into the environment is a function of surface area of the heat-losing surface. As body size goes up, the surface area:mass ration goes down. So a giant breed dog has more mass of tissue producing heat and proportionally less surface area through which to lose it, compared to a appropriately sized dog. Therefore giant breeds are prone to over heating. On the flip side, tiny dogs have less mass and proportionally more surface area and so can have trouble maintaining body temperature in cold conditions and so often need to wear sweaters and jackets in cold climates.

    5. Yes, extremely large and small body size is another problem, along with brachycephly, corkscrew spines, and so on. There are very large northern wolves out there (150 lbs+) ... but that's not the kind of wolf that dogs come from. They seem to be descended from smaller southern wolves, which range in size from 25-70 lbs. This is why the healthiest, most agile, and most long-lived dogs are around that size: they're naturally adapted to it. Dogs much bigger or smaller than that tend to have problems with thermoregulation, circulation, and musculoskeletal issues.

      As for this judge: keep talking Mr. Cronander, so they whole world can see what an arbitrary, unethical, unscientific mess these snobby animal shows are. From dogs to cats to horses, it's obvious these people care more about looks and money than the welfare of the animals they're supposed to be caring for.

    6. Yes. I understand that, explains elephant's ears and their love of water etc. Aaah Christmas time soon, back amongst the elephants. I can get completely lost watching them, literally weeks at a time ....complete train spotter far as elephants are concerned.

      Dogs battling to breathe around 20%C is not right, though. Its not. They haven't even exercised. Most dogs wouldnt even be panting much after a decent run?!

      At higher temps 27-35%C and up most dogs are inactive and need deep shade and rest. Unless you take things very carefully long arduous hikes can result in heat stroke, all sizes. But they're certainly not dropping dead in the shade doing nothing but trying to breathe........our Great Danes actually managed perfectly well in Africa even on the hottest days, even with the odd spurt of intense exertion, or longish relaxed rides. They were also very fond its true of sitting in the sometimes icy streams up to their neck....all the dogs were. This is all normal. Dogs dropping dead at rest is not...even big dogs.

    7. Fraser Hale: Thank you for that explanation about body mass and heat generated. I now understand why my Greyhound (who is still small for a Grey), suffers more in the heat than my Whippet, and why she can tolerate the cold more easily.

  3. If I just close my eyes long and hard enough the world WILL be as before!

  4. A judge assessing how happy a dog is by its tail being up - in a Pug! wow, anyways even if the dog wasnt struggling to breathe - why award it for not being happy to be looked over - and why award a obese dog??

  5. Um... CAN a show-quality pug lower its tail? I know the breed standard "strongly prefers" a double curl, and that sometimes these tails get ingrown... which implies that their tails aren't very mobile.