'As part of More4’s commitment to having an open debate about the health and welfare of dogs during the 2010 coverage of Crufts, it was inevitable that there would be some discussion about the issues that exist in certain breeds. Clare Balding chose to highlight a health issue which was also subsequently noted by the BVA. The Kennel Club has since received a number of emails and phone calls from viewers concerned at the appearance of the dog.
The Kennel Club would not and could not interfere with More4 reporting on these issues in the way that it sees fit.
Although the Kennel Club cannot comment on this case in particular it should be noted that within all of the high profile breeds, both judges and monitors were required to submit a report about the dogs that they saw before them at DFS Crufts. These reports will, as always, go to the Kennel Club’s Dog Health Group and if there is a discrepancy between them the Kennel Club will ask the relevant judge to provide an explanation, which will be assessed accordingly.
The Kennel Club is taking firm action to address the problems which it perceives in the GSD breed generally and has asked all GSD clubs to sign an undertaking to confirm that they recognise that there is a problem with the conformation of the breed at present and only those which sign will be allocated CCs from 2011 onwards.'
So are we to believe that the KC had no input to the content of the much vaunted 'health' section in the Saturday edition of the More4 Crufts coverage?
Why the need to distance themselves from pointing the finger at the German Shepherd and put the blame on Clare Balding? There was plenty of opportunity for seasoned broadcaster Caroline Kisko to inject some balance to point out to the viewers that the GSD certainly wasn't the unhealthiest pedigree breed and that Clare's observations about Lagos's back end were not backed up by any scientific evidence. That in fact the dog featured had been widely praised for his rear action by top judges from all over the world. That he had excellent hips and had even passed a 20km endurance test with flying colours.
Lagos's owner was told by Caroline Kisko that the item was rehearsed in broad terms and elsewhere it has been reported that the Kennel Club had to 'hold the hand' of More4 considerably as it was their first year covering Crufts.
Why are they attempting to distance themselves from the Crufts TV programme?
Lagos's owner Carol Keen has just issued this statement:
<“To breed and own a GSD like Clokelly Lagos has been my life’s ambition. I am dedicated to this lovely GSD breed. I have taken Lagos through every health screening test appropriate for our breed, which he has passed with flying colours. I have also taken Lagos through the most stringent assessment tests and examinations for GSD in Germany, our breed motherland. Again he has passed them ALL with flying colours. I have actively supported the Kennel Club and its licensed shows for many years, something I am currently questioning very seriously indeed. I find the latest Kennel Club Statement deeply offensive, and like me, I am sure the majority of our GSD breed enthusiasts will be deeply insulted by it. The kennel Club have failed to make any reference to the complaints made to them about the television interview itself being unfair, and insulting, and in very bad taste. Particularly against a GSD judged to be best of breed, and a GSD specialist judge. A GSD Judge specifically selected by the Kennel Club for his qualifications and qualities, who was singularly abandoned, unsupported by the Kennel Club Secretary in this TV interview. The Kennel Club Secretary surely had a duty to the exhibitor and the GSD exhibit correctly entered and judged at its own Crufts Show, and the GSD Judge, during that infamous TV interview. She completely failed in this respect, concentrating solely and unjustifiably on scoring points against the GSD breed, disgraceful indeed. Especially considering the exemplary status of my dogs show record, health screening record and assessments record. The Kennel Club Statement is clearly a COP-OUT, and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Our GSD exhibiters within Great Britain clearly lead the way for all pedigree dogs breeds in Health Screening and Fit for Function assessments. The Kennel Club’s choosing to focus on UNSOUNDNESS is simply to steer attention away from compulsory health screening tests, onto “visible faults”. In other words “Out of sight – Out of mind” – Then the majority of people registering GSD litters can continue ‘unrestricted’, because NO ONE will be looking at their breeding stock for UNSOUNDNESS, and they can continue NOT doing any health screening, such as Hips, Elbows, Haemophilia tests, DNA tests etc. They can continue NOT having their breeding stock assessed in any way whatsoever, especially for suitable characters and temperaments, which to the General Public is the MOST IMPORTANT ASSESSMENT FOR OUR GSD BREED. The Kennel Club should enter meaningful discussions with our GSD breed Clubs, without further delay. The Kennel Club could all too obviously learn a great deal from them.”