THE ENGLISH Springer Spaniel Club has won the first ever competition for breed club and council websites, run by Midland Counties Canine Society and DOG WORLD.
In past years, several competitions have been run to choose the best breed club handbooks and publications. However, for many prospective owners their first port of call nowadays is the web, so Midland Counties and DOG WORLD felt that this would be an ideal opportunity to reward those clubs that make a special effort to introduce themselves and their breed to the general public this way.
Midland Counties has generously offered prize money of £75 for first place, £50 for second, and £25 for third in each of eight categories covering the breeds with CC status in each of the seven groups plus another for rare and imported register breeds.
An overall winner and runner-up were also declared – in the event there was a tie for second place and this award went jointly to the Hungarian Vizsla Club and the Southern Newfoundland Club.
The prizes will be presented at Midland Counties championship show from Thursday to Sunday.
The judges looked at each of the entered websites from different angles: they were Midland Counties chairman Robert Greaves and Dog World associate editor Simon Parsons from the pedigree dog world, Midland Counties treasurer Jack Randall, who looked at the sites mainly from the angle of a potential pet owner seeking information about the breeds, and Fiona Allman-Treen, managing director of website developer FAT Promotions, from the design angle. They each allocated points which were combined to come up with the winners.
Robert commented: "I was very impressed by the overall quality of the entry and especially the innovative ways clubs used website software to provide additional information to members such as searchable health issue database and ‘members only’ area.
"The websites show what can be done to promote individual breeds as well as demonstrating the various fun side of being an owner. Well done to every entrant and I thoroughly enjoyed going through them all.”
Simon said: "Looking through all the entered sites was a fascinating and rewarding experience. The work which had been put into every one of them must have been phenomenal, and in many cases only minor aspects divided them.
"The sheer volume of information which can be found on the best of the sites is remarkable, and I was especially impressed by the achievements of some of the numerically very small breeds. In addition some breeds are lucky enough to have more than one really top class site.”
The winners are:
1 Otterhound Club
2 Midland and Northern Rhodesian Ridgeback Club
Joint 3 Dachshund Breed Council
Pharaoh Hound Club
1 English Springer Spaniel Club
2 Hungarian Vizsla Club
3 Sussex Spaniel Association
1 Norfolk Terrier Club
2 East Anglian Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club
Joint 3 Midland Border Terrier Club
Enthusiasts and Fanciers of the Glens (proposed)
1 North of England Keeshond Club
2 North of England Lhasa Apso Club
3 Keeshond Club
1 Southern Newfoundland Club
2 Alaskan Malamute Club of the UK
3 Great Dane Breeders’ and Owners’ Association
1 Finnish Lapphund Club of GB
2 Great London Old English Sheepdog Club
3 Mid Western Shetland Sheepdog Club
1 English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan) Club
2 Pug Dog Club
3 Griffon Bruxellois Club
RARE AND IMPORTED REGISTER BREEDS
1 Great Swiss Mountain Dog Club
joint 2 Bracco Italiano Society
Entlebucher Mountain Dog Club of GB
1 English Springer Spaniel Club of GB
Joint 2 Hungarian Vizsla Club
Southern Newfoundland Club
The judges decided to give a special award to the Wheaten Health Initiative, another excellent site thought not strictly speaking a breed club or council.