|Ch Lourdace Fulcrum - winner of the Gundog Group, Crufts 2016|
My inbox is full of emails this morning from show peeps who wouldn't normally say my name without spitting venom.
The Gordon Setter that won the Gundog group at Crufts last night was bred and is co-owned by the judge's sister.
But really... so what?
Amusingly, there was an item on the TV coverage last night that present the show world as a lovely little community where everyone looks out for each other.
The reality is that it's a nest of vipers and people can't wait to stick the boot in.
But I fail to see the great scandal here. The showing bug often runs in families and it's a small world. Inevitably, loads of people are related to each other or in relationships with each other.
Indeed, you've got to ask what judge Di Arrowsmith was supposed to do - ignore the dog because of the relationship? That would surely be unfair.
James, as Ch Lourdace Fulcrum is known, won Best of Breed under a different, independent judge. He is clearly a lovely-looking dog and my personal tip for Best in Show because he ticks a lot of boxes - beautiful, a vulnerable breed and his handler co-owner came over well on TV last night.
This might just be my wishing thinking, though - or perhaps the fear that I will self-combust if that disgraceful ball of fluff that won the Toy Group waddles off with the top prize.
Of more concern to me is that Ch Lourdace Fulcrum has a hip score of 27. He is the son of a sire with a hip score of 17 and his dam's score was 27; hardly surprising his hips aren't great.
A score of 27 is almost triple the breed average (the 5y rolling median is currently 10). James has also already sired three litters, two of them to bitches with hip scores also above the breed median (18 and 11).
The BVA advice is to not breed dogs with hip scores above the breed median.
I hope James is used judiciously at stud from here on in. I've met a lot of older Gordons who look terrible on the move - clearly stiff and sore. It is, I'm afraid, one of the consequences of a breed that is no longer kept fit and functional by the work it was originally developed to do. (Very few Gordons in the UK are working gundogs).
I have suggested, several times, that dogs should come to the ring with some existing points in the bag - e.g. for good hip scores/health tests/working qualifications/lower than breed-average inbreeding etc. I can't see that it would be anything other than a win-win situation - for the dogs and for Kennel Club PR.
But no. Crufts and other dog shows remain primarily about outside appearance and not inner health.
Most exhibitors who adhere to decent standards of behaviour don't enter under judges who are related to them, either by family or marriage. Having won the breed under another judge, the correct action would then have been not to take the dog into the group, having explained this to the show secretary. Even better to not enter the show at all, knowing the group judge was a family memberReplyDelete
I suppose it doesn't really matter, because dog and cat shows aren't really competitions, anyway. It's just a bunch of animals bred to resemble some arbitrary ideal, and judged by people who claim to be objective about subjective matters. It's not like you're clocking the fastest greyhound, counting how many rats a terrier can kill, or seeing which dog can herd stock through three barriers in the shortest time without biting them. Those are objective measures of fitness or performance. But a dog show? The dogs labeled "champions" really should be labeled "dogs that some official thinks look cool." It's nonsense. Any nepotism that may exist is hardly a big deal when the whole event is just a celebration of bad breeding practices anyway.ReplyDelete
I agree with Anonymous above, the decent thing to do is to withdraw from the group judging. OK, so that sucks at a big show like Crufts, but it's still the right thing to do. In some countries judges aren't allowed to judge dogs they, their close family own or bred, nor the dogs they have owned or bred themselves. In some countries the rules says "owned or bred within the last xxx amount of time" in other countries it doesn't matter that you or your sister, husband, grandmother or some other relative bred the dog sold it at 8 weeks old and got it in the ring at 6 years of age. It just isn't allowed as per the showrules.ReplyDelete
If the win is within KC regulations (I haven't read them) I don't think there are much to yell about, but I see why it may upset some people with a more competetive attitudes than me.
I do feel that with the vulnerable breeds you want to keep the gene pool as open as possible, even if that means breeding from individuals that in numerically strong breeds you'd leave alone. The hipscore isn't great, but a dog is more than a pair of hips (or any other individual element). If you only breed from 'perfect' dogs (do they even exist?) then your gene pool will be tiny.ReplyDelete
How ignorant can you be? The hip score is nothing to do with the look of the dog. its about the health, high hip scores means a higher risk of hip related illnesses later in life, things like hip dysplasia, things that can make a dogs life hell.Delete
Unknown, qualified geneticists will tell you that testing should not be used as a tool to rule animals out of a gene pool but instead to give information about which individuals would be the best choice of mate. The look of the dog was never mentioned.Delete
I have known of dogs with hip scores in the 40s live active working lives well into their teens, and dogs with hip scores in single figures be crippled with arthritis very young. The mean score of all dogs scored (well over 100,000 so a reflective sample from one extreme to the other) is 19, so it can safely be assumed that that figure is 'the norm' and anything below that is better than average for the generic 'dog'.
Considering show circles are almost always based around cliques, does it really matter about familial relationships. Let's ban all judges who are friends with a competitor. In fact let's have independent judges not associated with the breed clubs looking at health as a primary consideration rather than be blinded being in the breed club clique circle.ReplyDelete
Here we go again, Blah blah blah ZZZZZzzzzzzzReplyDelete
You still here?Delete
You can barely string a sentence together, let alone a coherant argument. Please leave.Delete
It's just a bit of fun at the end of the day. No one has died. Not yet anyway.ReplyDelete
Jemima, please get your facts straight. Gordon Setters are one of the strongest Gundog breeds for 'fit for function' ability. Our Field Trial and Working Gundog classes in Gordons have the most entries consistently of any gundog breed. We have two Dual Champions on our breed mantel which is unique in setter history in the UK. Due to the Kennel Club and Breed Clubs hosting training days and weekends for newcomers, more and more owners are getting the bug to come out and actually see what is involved in training and working their dog at what they were originally bred to do. Nothing feels better than winning in the show ring and knowing your dog can also compete at a level with pure ft bred dogs. We're very proud of our dual purpose ability in Gordon Setters and I'm surprised you know nothing about it!ReplyDelete
I wasn't, Jean, so thank you. I am not aware of many Gordons working on shoots - but perhaps they are more numerous in field trials? Could you point me to some info?Delete
Gordon Setters are not originally bred for the smaller shoots on partridge and pheasant I think you are referring to. They are a pointing breed that ranges far and wide to find, point, and produce game birds such as the grouse. Some shooting still goes on over Pointer and Setters although driven shoots are by far the most popular. Field Trials are the second best way of emulating a true shooting day, to prove your stock and have fun on the hill. Over in Europe and in the States many more people do use the Gordon as a personal hunting dog than they do here in UK, where an HPR breed is more popular. In the UK they do not have to retrieve though they are quite capable of doing so. The Kennel Club has a list of all the Pointer and Setter Trials held in the UK for you. In addition, Pointer and Setter judges need to have attended a field trial before awarding their first set of CCs so they can understand the original function of the dog!Delete
There's a differene between true working dogs and doing a day or two of 'training'.Delete
Like the Rottweillers that are trained to do a few 'working' tricks but if they were actually put to it they'd fail miserably.
Sorry Anonymous, you've missed the point entirely. The training days are to encourage newcomers to 'fit for function'. Surely any support, training and providing the land to properly practice on to show owners what their dogs were originally meant to do should be applauded? And that was about newcomers, quite a few Gordons in the show ring are regularly worked and shot over, including mine. My dogs, or dogs sired by my 'show dogs', have won over 65 field trial awards to date, and another Gordon Setter exhibitor has achieved even more than that number, and we both have produced Dual Champions. My holidays and quite a few Gordoners holidays every year are taken up on the grouse moors counting grouse for the estate owners as well as competing in field trials. Big difference to 'a day or two of training'. If you are not knowledgable about the Gordon Setter's dual purpose ability, you shouldn't be commenting.Delete
Sorry, just a quick comment on Gordon Setter hip scores, the reason we have a median of only 10 is the hard work breeders have put in to improving our hip status. The improvement is clearly seen if you look at how it has come down progressively over the years, in fact, one of the best improvements seen in pedigree dogs.ReplyDelete
Yes, I noticed that. One of the reasons I was disturbed to see James' score and that he is being used at stud. The last thing the breed needs is a popular sire who could reverse the improvement in hip scores in the breed.Delete
Most breed averages for hips aren't true anyway as, in the main, only the good 'sets' are submitted and the bad ones don't get sent. I know of breeders who get dogs they have bred to go back to their vet so they can see the plates and then they decide if they are good enough to get sent on for scoring.Delete
This in the UK, Anon? As far as I'm aware, this shouldn't happen in the UK.Delete
I too know of vets in the UK who don't submit the xray plates that would return a poor score.Delete
Having recently had a dog hip scored in the UK. I thought once you enter in to it the x-ray goes off regardless, but vets will tell you as this vet did with me, if they think the hips are worth scoring and if bad, you have the option not to send them. It should not be happening, but it is and is probably why the improvement in hip scores in breeds is not being reflected in the general population of dogs, as said above, 'only the good 'sets' are submitted.'The hip scoring schemes in my mind are a joke.Delete
How sad ..the dog is NOT co owned by the judges sister! The dog has 3 owners, and the judge in question was a sister of one of the owners. You are calling in to question the ethics and integrity of a person not able to comment herself.ReplyDelete
The winning Gordon was bred by the judge's sister, who co-owns him with two other people.Delete
Do you even read what you type?Delete
"NOT" co-owned by judge's sister, but one of the owners is the judge's sister?
Pity the hounds and terriers are always judged last and on the last day, when I'm fast asleep this side of the planet.ReplyDelete
It would also be nice to see best of breed coverage for all up on Youtube (: Wonder how those Bassets are doing? The bitch looks reasonably good though also far from functional.
Yes it's as Jemima said, hope Lourdace Fulcrum is used "judiciously" after his win, or it could be the end of the rather gorgeous though no longer functional working Gordon Setter breed.
I have a feeling he will be, though winning Best in Show might just be the tipping point.
In it's present state it's true unfortunately you can't exclude a single dog. How this will help at this stage is also a mute point, though.
As genuine outcrossing within the breed becomes a near impossibility some equally judicious outcrossing is perhaps quite an urgent priority.
Sifting through the problems trying to decide which to try and exclude is an exercise in futility.
River P, the groups are held in a rotating pattern; the groups that are on the last day this year will be on the first day in 2017, then the second day in 2018 and so on. It means all breeds get to experience the relatice calm of the first two days as well as the hideous crush of the last two.Delete
Oh I see thanks Mary. Unfortunately it's still all too late for mia et moi. They only start at around 2-3AM my time each day with breed judging.Delete
"The reality is that it's a nest of vipers and people can't wait to stick the boot in" Jemima I am a dog show person but usually happy to see problems exposed. But when you make remarks like this I find it cheap and easy journalism where you attempt to demonise and tar everyone with the same brush to gain support. Kinda like the whole "Nazi" analogy. I know you have been abused but if all you want to do is keep preaching to the converted then so be it. Maybe that is the easier route than reaching those within. And on a personal note I have found many walks of life have a darker side especially where competition is involved. I am surprised you haven't yourself.ReplyDelete
Anonymous, you're probably right there are many walks of life that have darker sides especially where competition is involved, but those competitions don't all include animals! Apart from which, some of the shadier 'goings on' are often found out and brought into the press anyway, just like the tennis star just recently. Unfortunately, Jemima is right it can be a nest of vipers. For example I know of a mother and daughter breeding duo, who both have different affixes, so therefore, can and do exhibit under each other at shows and with regard to full champions in gun dogs, you can actually make a full champion up by competing in and passing the working certificate, which is pretty basic, then go into the show ring and obtain your 3 CCs, therefore, making a full champion. Not quite the same as making up a Field Trial Champion and then making that same dog a Show Champion. There have been many years since that has happened. But anyone using their dog in the field is to be applauded, but some of us know how the system works Jean.Delete
Hi Jenny. Again, wish people would get their facts straight. The latest Dual Champion Setter was made up in 2014, hardly 'years'!ReplyDelete
What Di Arrowsmith should have done was have some goddamn ethics and recuse herself from judging under conflict of interest. But of course as we all know these types of "judges" have no relationship to the true legal judge who has a mandate to conduct themselves ethically and impartially. In the world of the show ring, it's anything goes as we scramble to promote somebody who will scratch our back in return for favours granted. And to hell with the animals.ReplyDelete
Truly the show world are first class animal abusers. Now we need to convince the SPCA's and the governments of the world to have them banned.
The dog might not have ideal hips but how did Di Arrowsmith contribute to animal abuse?Delete
I think the irony here is that people involved in the showing world are are all to eager to stab one another in the back and use any means possible to do it even a blog heavily critising their very own breeding practises.
The judges objectivity shouldn't be held in doubt! Not on this issue at least. Ha ha!