Friday, 27 March 2009

Wind of change?

Dog World has an anonymously written column from a high-ranking KC insider. (My best guess is it's either Ronnie the Chairman or my regular sparring partner Caroline Kisko, or probably both taking turns to hide behind anonymity and have a good snipe.)
The pen name is "Trumpeter" and I have to say there's a lot of noxious gas is emitted by this windbag. This week he/she is claiming Crufts went really well and the only negative press wasn't because the KC were failing to look after the health of pedigree dogs properly - it was "vested interests" and people publicity seeking. Although not named I felt compelled to bite back and posted this on DW comments section.
(Yes Kieran was up very early again - 5am this time, school holidays are such fun - Natural History Museum today!)
"Of course some people have vested interests and don’t deserve to have the publicity they so crave – so I’ll not bother to name them – and they continued their attacks."
Guess Trumpeter might mean me? Although these days there are quite a large pack of people on this side of the fence trying to encourage the KC to start getting better, start governing – doing the leading not the spinning.
I can understand why Trumpeter doesn't want to mention our media exchange in more detail - would probably like to burn the tapes as the KC did not represent themselves at all well.
It really was a case of their true colours coming out.
If you'd like to see a transcript of the exchange between myself and Caroline Kisko on Sky News do read my blog.
Caroline’s classic line, “We shouldn’t be humanizing this. What we are talking about here are dogs, and dogs have a very different genetic structure to us, ” may come back to haunt her.
As will, “And just bleating on about inbreeding and so on constantly is just boring in the end.”
But that big foot-in-mouth moment…
“I think that turning around and simply saying we should have done it 14 years ago is pretty unfair. We actually started this whole episode a very long time ago. We carried on doing it and started doing lots of good things now – let’s just have a little pat on the back and a bit of support for breeders instead of this constant whinging and whining about what we haven’t done soon enough – no, we can’t do everything that the Swedish Kennel Club are doing and actually you’ll find that breeders in Sweden are not terribly happy with the way that their Kennel Club have gone about things either. They’ve lost people, they will continue to do so. We want to keep people with us, so we have to do it steadily.”
The Swedish KC disagrees and can't understand why on earth Caroline should say such a thing...
Yes I can quite understand Trumpeter why you might want to draw a veil over that interview and the subsequent one of BBC Radio Wales.
Vested interests? Like wanting there to be pedigree dogs in the future?
Just half as good as the Swedish KC would be a start.... as I said.
Trumpeter, if you only want Crufts to talk to the show people then carry on the way you are going and you'll remain totally toxic. But I think you'll find that the show world want you to move forward, to become less embarrassing and more reflective of the good people.
Lead don’t spin.
On the to do list:
Searchable COI information over the net, breed COI targets, action on the overuse of popular sires, mandatory health tests, pragmatic action on extremes not just paper shuffling and word changes... all the stuff that Sweden already has in hand - and has had for a very, very long time!
Or wait for DNA tests for every condition and continue inbreeding with the blindfolds on and just watch the nasty recessive conditions pop up and the life expectancies drop. Oh hold on, that's been what you were doing before bothersome Pedigree Dogs Exposed came along and gave you that wake up call.
Just get on with it.
Talk about "inbreeding" being boring. The KC still not getting its act into gear is incredibly tedious.
Beverley Cuddy
Editor of Dogs Today


Anonymous said...

Well done, Beverley. The KC would adopt your viewpoint if it was a truly progressive organisation, but it can't because it fears losing face. All it can do is be defensive and angry.
It all points to an urgent need for a clear out of the old guard and for some people who are genuinely interested in the future of pedigree dogs, and in putting right their current health and conformation problems, to take their place.
How this can be achieved I do not know.
Julia L

Anonymous said...

Just out of interest which group would you say have THE most influence in the world of pedigree dogs ?
Which group are capable of pushing forward discussion and possible change

The groups are...
small hobby breeders, most people in the breed would not know who they are although they may have been around a long time

Successful, well known breeders, probably internationally known

Breed Clubs,usually made up of the latter with a few of group 1

Pet owners

Scientists with an interest in pedigree dogs

Media groups

Rose said...

Do the Kennel Club actually LIKE dogs?
To read what their 'spokesperson' says you wouldn't think so. Many of the dogs I've known throughout my life have been a lot better than some people I've met. What happened to dogs being 'mans best friend?' I sometimes wonder why the Kennel Club exists. What is the point of this organisation if they don't GENUINELY care about dogs?
Keep hammering away at them Beverley and hopefully they will begin to realise that your only agenda is the welfare of dogs.

RottieGuy said...

Am I correct to say that the Swedish Kennel club does NOT force breeders to adhere to COI guidelines? They are available as just another tool to educate breeders, but not made mandatory?

And am I right to say that the only matings the Swedish club bans are brother/sister parent/offspring?

Bodil carlsson said...

Dear RottieGuy, that woud depend on how you define the word "force".
In my own breed, the Collie, in order to register puppies with the KC, this is how it goes:
1)dam and sire of litter HAVE to have a registered HD X-ray result. If they don´t have it, no registration. If they do have it and its bad, i e one or both parents dysplastic, you can register the puppies - but will find yourself before the Disciplinary Board of the KC.
2) dam and sire of litter have to have a Mentality Assessment result. As yet, having gone through with the MA is the only requirement, but very likely in the near future, there will be demands on HOW the Mentality Assessment turned out. Basic KC code of ethics prohibit breeding from dogs either aggressive or fearful. (This applies to the Working Breeds, and if you´re a Rottie guy, your dog would be subjected to this rule, as is mine -I´m a Collie woman.:-) 9
3)A parent/offspring or sister/brother mating, unless you can provide evidence it was by mishap,will get you before the Disciplinary Board - and the litter will be banned from breeding, as of January 2005 if I remember correctly.
4)Now, in Sweden, if you breed dogs, not belonging within the KC is not really an option - buyers of puppies would wonder what´s wrong with you. Being a member and having to explain your ways to the Disciplinary Board is not customer attracting, either...
So how is that for "forcing" breeders to act responsibly?
Secondly, here it is important for breeders to qualify for the Breed Club´s puppy referral service, as buyers often turn to it when looking for Collie puppies.
In order to qualify for that service, your breeding stock
1)must have Hips X-ray results grade A o B
2)must have had ophthalmological eye checks twice, at eight weeks and at 1 year, and be free of
3)must have passed the Mentality Assessment test without persistent fear reactions at noise, gunshots etc - and of course, without extreme aggression, but that is rarely a problem with the Collie
and4)must have passed a show with a plain "2nd", that is "judged a good specimen of the breed" but definitely no great star in the ring.
Again, failing to qualify for Breed Club puppy referral is not something breeders would be terribly happy about, and yes, they would lose custom.
Very important in all this is of course the fact that all resultas, including the degree of inbreeding in every litter, is accessible to anybody interested through the Breed Club and the KC national data base. If I were a breeder and you, Rottie Guy, wanted to know the inbreeding level, the HD reults and the eye checks of my´d just need 15 min with your computer. And that goes for the puppy buyers, too.
P S: If interested, I will contact the Swedish KC and verify.I did ask a respected breeder what would happen to her if she carried out a father/daughter mating. She was flabbergasted by the suggestion and simply said "It´s not done, dunno what would happen, it´s just not done!"

Bodil Carlsson said...

Sorry, I forgot....What I said about the demands for Breed Club puppy referral applies to the Collie Club of Sweden. Other national breed clubs will have other demands.

If anyone is interested, welcome to look at the English version of the Collie information website Collieinfo at

RottieGuy said...

thats really interesting...thanks for the long post. all of those requirements sound reasonable, although i wonder if the temperament test could be a bit tricky...i don't know how some of my dogs would handle ''gunshots''

most of my friends and i are already carrying out this regimen anyway, but there are certainly lots of people breeding rotties out there who don't care at and large this is the non-showing crowd who are only breeding big, strong, guard dogs.

one of the reasons i have been skeptical of some of the debate on here and on other sites is that it is going to take ''show'' breeders to bring change, not pet breeders who are just making money.

so why do ''show'' breeders keep getting made out to be villains? surely they us on side?

did you see the pedigree dog exposed show? it didn't offer solutions, only made dramatic claims and sensationalized.

that is why i like beverly cuddys site the best. she has ideas for change without attracting attention to herself like the harrison lady.

Bodil Carlsson said...

Dear RottieGuy, the mentality Assessment is a fairly quiet affair. You can see for yourself on our Collieinfo site,, English version. There is a short film showing how it´s done.
The whole point is that along the walk, the dog is exposed to stuff that is mildly frightening or threatening to any dog. The dog is expected to react with surprise and fear/anger. What is interesting is how the dog is able to get over it, how long the fear or anger persists.
Important things in everyday life! Now the MA is primarily used to evaluate the outcome of a mating, so entire litters are what we are trying to get through. Many Collie breeders here put down lots of money and effort to get the buyers to come with their young adult dogs.
Ah yes...and the "show Collie" breeders, on the whole, bleat and complain and go through with it only because they must, in order to have their puppies registered...
and resent the results being public, as buyers tend to turn to the MA tests when they look for a puppy.
So yes, I do understand why "show" breeders don´t always have the best reputation. And then again, I do know a few who do... :-)

SanDiegoDogMa said...

I so admire the Collie Club of Sweden. Thank you for the information, Bodil.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bodhil for your post which is most enlightening.
Would you agree that the driving force behind the changes and what keeps some of the show folk in check is the public demand for better puppies?
How is education about which puppy to buy tackled in sweden?
Do you have any suggestions about how to combat the puppy farming situations?

Mutthouse xx

Bodil Carlsson said...

Yes, if there is a way of saving pedigree dogs from big trouble, I think it lies in the hands of the people who want good, healthy,able & friendly dogs to share their lives and work with...i e, buyers of puppies. And in the general knowledge of the public about what a "quality dog" really is - see the above :-).
Dog breeding is too important to be left to conformation breeders -as we have ample evidence, in this country as in yours.
As for helping people decide what puppy to buy, do look in at the website. The editorials published in English end in a direct link to the Breed Club´s Puppy Referral Service person, Anita. She will tell you the qualifications of the parents of each litter, Mental Assessment results included. Then people can make up their own minds about it, right?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bohdil - that is a brilliant site and the info is almost what I was suggesting many blogs ago on here only a bit more indepth. I think all dogs could benefit from this kind of assesment.

Thank you again
Mutthouse xx

Bodil Carlsson said...

P S:Sorry, forgot! Puppy farns we don´t have here, it´s like selling puppies and kittens in pet shops - not legal.

jo siemieniowski said...

Well done Beverley, what a pity you are not in charge of the KC. this awful mess would be soon sorted out! loved the post from ROSE, and all the info from BODIL