Crufts first day and a pretty promising start!

The top winners were a Lhasa called Elizabeth and a Pom from Sweden called Dave who did the cutest vistory run I've ever seen! The TV coverage was better than recent years, too. Much more balanced.

But we also saw a bit of history. The KC now have an independent vet check on 15 problem breeds. The vet's identity is shrouded in mystery, it is possible he or she may need a bullet proof vest and the witness protection programme as they bounced the Best of Breed winners of Bulldogs and Pekingese. Well done, that vet obviously has the biggest set of balls at the NEC! We are yet to hear what will happen to the judges who awarded the accolades to these two dogs. Maybe a Specsavers voucher might be appropriate?

However, the Pug (one of the 15 troublesome breeds) was placed 2nd in the toy group and must have passed the vet check, but to the TV pundit the dog looked far from happy in the big ring. Hot lights and flat faces don't seem to go together. Wonder if the same vet did all the checks? Would an ethical  vet ever say a dog without a nose was healthy?

Here's what others are saying about this issue:

Jemima Harrison's blog has photos of the Bulldog...

and the BVA announcement:


The Kennel Club has announced that the following the breed judging on the first day of Crufts (Thursday) the Best of Breed (BOB) winners in two of the high profile breeds – the bulldog and the Pekingese – failed their veterinary checks and the breeds were not represented in the utility and toy group judging.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) welcomed the Kennel Club’s initiative to put the veterinary checks in place for the BOB winner in the 15 high profile breeds at all championship dog shows starting at Crufts this year.

The 15 breeds have been identified as having particular health problems often due to poor conformation as a result of having been bred with exaggerated characteristics. The veterinary checks ensure the BOB winners are not suffering as a result of their conformation, such as eye problems, skin disease, lameness or breathing difficulties, which should have been identified by the judge.

Commenting, Carl Padgett, President of the BVA, said:

“Breeding dogs with exaggerated features must be tackled robustly. The veterinary checks are sending out a strong message that dogs with health problems will not win in the show ring, and only visibly healthy dogs will be rewarded.

“Dog showing can be a force for good for dog breeding and education but the veterinary checks on the first two groups at Crufts have highlighted the health problems that all too often affect man’s best friend.

“We hope this strong action by the Kennel Club will be a wake-up call to those breeders and judges that still need to embrace the message that health should always be at the top of the agenda.”

The KC statement: 

Bulldog and Pekingese fail Crufts vet checks

No dog representing the Pekingese and Bulldog breeds will compete in Thursday evening’s Best in Group competitions at Crufts after they failed the new veterinary checks that have been introduced to the show.

The Best of Breed award was not given to Pekingese, Palacegarden Bianca, or Bulldog, Mellowmood One In A Million, following their veterinary checks, which were carried out by an independent veterinary surgeon. This means that the dogs will not be allowed to continue into the Toy or Utility Best in Group competitions respectively.

The Kennel Club has introduced veterinary checks for the Best of Breed winners at all Kennel Club licensed General and Group Championship Dog Shows from Crufts 2012 onwards, in 15 designated high profile breeds. This measure was introduced to ensure that Best of Breed awards are not given to any dogs that show visible signs of problems due to conditions that affect their health or welfare.

The fifteen high profile breeds are as follows: Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Clumber Spaniel, Dogue De Bordeaux, German Shepherd Dog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, Shar Pei, St Bernard, French Bulldog, Pug and Chinese Crested.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We are determined to ensure that the show ring is a positive force for change and that we help to move breeds forward by only rewarding the healthiest examples of a breed.

“The veterinary checks were introduced to ensure that dogs with exaggerated features do not win prizes. The independent veterinary surgeon decided that the Pekingese and Bulldog should not pass their checks and therefore they did not receive their Best of Breed awards and will not be representing their breeds in the remainder of the competition.”


Jo Lovell said…
Having had some feedback from people who were there yesterday, no judge has an opthalmascope in their pocket or the training to use it. If this the route they are going to go then the dogs should be assessed prior to entering the breed ring.

Also by limiting who is screened, its a bit skewed as who is to say that one of the non listed breeds hasnt got the same trouble.

Comment on the pug - that will have had a LONG day, they started in the breed ring at 08.30 and will have been in the NEC possibly an hour or more before that - I have dogs who love to be shown but after 12hours at the NEC they wouldnt always be that keen to bounce around - I had one go to sleep in the group ring at a big open show because it had got too much!
Richard said…
Hopefully the independent vet checks will have an impact on next years competition, where dogs that would fail are not shown by the breeders\owners. Otherwise it just seems a bit of a political move by the KC just to placate the critics. Clear guidance and reasons for failure should be made public so that breeders can try and eliminate those factors.
It may be better to filter these dogs out prior to them competing at Crufts too, leaving the checks and any subsiquent removal for BOB's to be the last resort!

I also think it would be better if the reserves were put forward (that's if they pass the veterinary checks) rather than leave the breed out completely.
sue said…
Pleased to see a step in what seems to be the right direction for the KC..lets hope it's maintained.

With regards to the reserve dogs being put forward. .. I have a question about that??
The same judge that awarded the BOB has also judged the other dogs, including the reserve. My worry would be if their standards are so flawed that they put an unhealthy dog through to BOB, who is to say the reserves would have been any better. It's a shame for the other dogs but perhaps it will be a lesson for the breed clubs to shake up their judging standards and not allow this (either) corruption or incompetence to occur again.
biskieboo said…
Didn't like the look of the pug at all. It seemed very squat with tiny legs. Last years was no better.
cambstreasurer said…
The cynic in me says that it might be too embarrassing to put up the reserves in case they failed as well.

However as Richard says, it would be a much more effective driver of selection for health if it could be made a way to ensure that the fitter dogs win.
cambstreasurer said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark williams said…
This is clearly an attempt by the kenbel club to attack breeds which they have a distinct dislike of.
As someone who has had bulldogs all my life and who has never had a dog live less than 12 years old this is bizarre, who are these vets! As most vets dont have a clue about bulldogs. Its a unique breedthe only one where an undershot jaw is not a fault and another point to remember the iriginal brred standard of a bulldog is older than the kennel club and older than any other breed if it was ok then whats changed! Answer nothing this is an illegal attempt at attacking certain breeds why not attack the breeds that cause heartache every year by attacking innocent people ie border collies abd rottweilers! Total disgrace!
Liz said…
While I think this was a good thing the KC could have gone further and my comments would be :

Why only 15 breeds, why not all of them?

As there were at least 3 best of breed fails out of the 15 breeds this does raise concern for the breeds which werent't vetted.

Surely all dogs entering Crufts could provide a vet certificate when registering to show health etc. The best of breeds of all breed for all breeds could then be vetted to check.

This would really make people think. As usual a gesture from the KC when they should be leading the way and could have made a real stand.
Anonymous said…
Rowena said…
I agree those placed in the reserved position should have been given the opportunity to represent their breed. If that also failure then that should be that. However I think next the testing should be undertake earlier in the process,maybe before the dog and bitch challenge

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